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How Diezani Laundered $115m through Fidelity Bank, Gave Belgore, Sulaiman N450m…Bank Officials…

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Mr Timothy Olaobaju, an official of Fidelity Bank Plc has narrated how  former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke deposited a sum of $115,010,000 in the bank with subsequent instruction to change it into naira and distribute it among individuals in the 36 states of the federation.

Among the beneficiaries, Olaobaju said, were a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Dele Belgore; and a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, who both received N450m.

Olaobaju said this on Monday when he appeared as a prosecution witness before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos where Belgore and Sulaiman are being tried for alleged money laundering involving N450m.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged Belgore and Sulaiman with five counts.

Charged along with the SAN and the ex-minister is Diezani, who is said to “still be at large.”

The EFCC had earlier arraigned Belgore and Sulaiman on February 8, 2017, but they were re-arraigned on Monday on an amended charge which included the name of Diezani.

Upon their re-arraignment on Monday, Belgore and Sulaiman pleaded not guilty to the five charges just as they had earlier done.

Trial commenced immediately after the defendants’ plea with the EFCC calling Olaobaju as its first witness.

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Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated, “Sometime in April 2014, our MD, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, gave a directive that certain companies and individuals would pay into an account with our bank some amounts of money. The purpose of the payment was not disclosed.

“Over the period, thereafter, some amounts were paid into the account. The funds were deposited in dollar. The total sum was $115,010,000.

“On the 27th of March, 2015, there was an instruction from the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, through our MD, that the fund in the account should be converted to naira and paid to certain individuals of which the list of beneficiaries was sent to our MD and the amount to be paid to them in naira.

“The funds were paid according to Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

“On the list sent to our branch, the names of the defendants (Belgore and Sulaiman) were on that list because the money was paid in about 36 states of the federation.

“The defendants are not customers of our bank.

“The instruction was that the sum of N450m should be paid to Mr Dele Belgore (SAN) and Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.

“They both received the money and they filled the Receipt of Payment as evidence of receipt of the money and acknowledgement of same.”

The witness said Belgore and Sulaiman signed separate Receipts of Payment for the same N450m on March 26, 2015.

The court admitted both Receipts of Payment in evidence and marked them as Exhibits 1 and 1A.

Asked by the prosecutor whether any cheque was issued in favour of Belgore and Sulaiman in respect of the fund, the witness answered in the negative.

Asked whether the N450m was credited into any account, the witness said, “To my knowledge, the N450m was not credited into any account.”

For the cross-examination of the witness, Belgore’s lawyer, Chief Ebun Shofunde (SAN), asked for an adjournment, as he said most of what the witness said on Monday were not in the proof of evidence front-loaded and served on the defence counsel.

Sulaiman’s lawyer, Mr Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), aligned himself with Shofunde.

The prosecutor said he would grudgingly concede to an adjournment till Tuesday in view of his respect for the defence counsel.

Justice Aikawa, consequently, adjourned the matter till Tuesday for further proceedings.

In the charges, Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, were accused of conspiring between themselves to commit the offence on March 27, 2015.

The duo were accused of making a cash transaction of N450m on March 27, 2015, without going through any financial institution.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants paid N50m to one Sheriff Shagaya.

The EFCC said the cash sum was above the lawful threshold permitted by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants “ought to have reasonably known that the N450m formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act.”

Belogore and Sulaiman were accused of violating sections 1(a), 16(d), 15(2)(d) and18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The prosecution said they are liable to be punished under sections 15(3)(4), and 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Justice Aikawa had earlier granted them bail on self-recognisance.

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More Troubles For Dangote Cement As Kogi Govt Demands 10 Per Cent Share, Orders Immediate Seal Off

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However, Dangote Cement is facing allegations of sharp practice from Kogi State government, Kogi Assembly as well as Akwa Ibom State.Already, the Kogi State House of Assembly has ordered stoppage to the activities of the company in two Local Governments in the State while investigations continue.

To make the claim possible, Kogi State House of Assembly ordered the management of Dangote Cement company to provide all necessary documents that have to do with the transfer of Obajana Cement Company owned by Kogi state government to Dangote Cement Company.

The House also directed that the documents signed at the establishment of the Company and relevant receipts of dues it claimed to have paid to Kogi State Government available at the next adjourned sitting date.

The speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, gave the order after interim reports of the ongoing investigative hearing on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which was submitted by the ad hoc committee led by Hon. Isah Tenimu Umar, Member Representing Lokoja I Constituency and deliberated upon at the plenary on Wednesday.

Kolawole said this has become important in view of the claims and counterclaims between the Chairman of Kogi State Internally Generated Revenue Service (KGIRS) and representatives of Dangote Cement as the acting chairman of KGIRS, Salisu Enehe had earlier accused Dangote Cement Plc Obajana of forging its tax receipt during the investigative hearing by the State House of Assembly.

According to the State Revenue Boss, most of the figures the company claimed to have paid are totally incorrect, urging the company to check its record.

He added that despite the billions of Naira that company is making from the state monthly, it has failed to pay taxes that are due to the state and Lokoja Local Government Area.

Nigerians Getting ₦1,593,247 Per Week From ₦99,000 Investment in Amazon
Nigerians Getting ₦1,593,247 Per Week From ₦99,000.

In another development, Following the unrestrained environmental degradation in Ankpa and Olamaboro local government areas, Kogi state House of Assembly on Wednesday, directed the Commissioner of Police and Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence (NSCDC) to seal off operations of Dangote Plc in the affected areas of the State.

The House gave the order during a public hearing on activities of Dangote Group in the state, especially on the the massive exploitation , environmental degradation and non compensation to the affected owners of the land and without revenue accruing to the state government.

The Speaker, Kogi state House of Assembly, Mathew Kolawole, charged the NSCDC commandant to ensure immediate implementation pending when the ad hoc committee on revenue clarifies some grey areas. Kolawole, who lamented the environmental degradation caused by mining activities on Kogi by the Dangote group and its subsidiaries, accused the multi national business concern of making billions in the state but yet fails to give back to it.

Akwa Ibom is also finding it difficult to collect its entitlement from the Dangote Group. According to reports from the place, the Itu Local Government blocked Dangote premises with their trucks because the company has refused to pay tax for more than two years despite pleas and series of warnings.

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Union Bank, WACOT Rice Kick Off Financial Inclusion Drive for Smallholder Farmers in Kebbi

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As part of Union Bank’s commitment to driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Bank has partnered with WACOT Rice Limited – a rice processing company, to financially include 6,000 local farmers including youth and women in Kebbi State.
The Kebbi Financial Inclusion Drive (KFID) which will cover four Local Government Areas – Argungu, Augie, Suru, and Dandi – is a critical part of WACOT’s Argungu Outgrower Expansion Project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Trade Hub. This program is set to resolve the overwhelming financial inclusion deficit within rural communities in Kebbi.
The financial inclusion initiative is being implemented with technical support from National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to help the farmers acquire the relevant documentation and identification required to open bank accounts.
Union Bank will facilitate account opening and expand its agency banking network to cover the areas while supporting its agents on ground with digital banking solutions to enable seamless transacting and account management.
Farouk Gumel, Chairman WACOT and Board Chair, Union Bank was on ground in Kebbi State to kick-off the drive and paid a visit to the Kebbi state Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to discuss expanding the programme state-wide.
In his recent keynote address at the recently concluded and  Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Conference, Mr. Gumel said:
 “As we work towards achieving financial inclusion to reach the unbanked, we must commit the same resources and investments to rural-local customers as we have done to urban-global clients to help create the growth that will lift us all to collective prosperity.”
WACOT Rice is a subsidiary of TGI Group. TGI Group, through another of its subsidiary Titan Trust Bank, recently acquired Union Bank in a landmark transaction which was announced in 2021.

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS VERVE INTERNATIONAL, MAKES CUSTOMERS MILLIONAIRES IN THE FIRSTBANK VERVE CARD PROMO

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In partnership with FirstBank – Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider – Verve International, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card with exciting gifts and cash prizes to appreciate their patronage and use of the card to carry-out their electronic banking transactions.

The ongoing 2-month promo will end on 30 October 2022 as 20 customers (10 customers per month) with the highest transaction count during the promo will be made millionaires, winning the sum of N1 million each. Also, N20,000 will be won by 25 customers monthly.

On the other hand, 2620 FirstBank verve cardholders that double their transactions every week, stand a chance to enjoy 10% cashback capped at N2,000 per customer.

Speaking on the promo Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, FirstBank said “we appreciate our partnership with Verve Card through the years; a partnership of empowerment and opportunities which include growing the economy, supporting new businesses and preventing unemployment. FirstBank verve card holders are encouraged to keep using their cards as it is a card offering that promotes safe, convenient and rewarding digital banking experience with 20 customers standing a chance to be millionaires at the end of the promo.”

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows cardholders to conveniently meet their daily financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. Verve card is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

The promo is also opened to new verve cardholders as non-verve cardholders are encouraged to visit the nearest FirstBank branch today to pick up a Verve card and start getting rewarded!

Only recently, FirstBank – in partnership with Verve – rewarded over 2601 FirstBank verve cardholders with various prizes; including N20,000 cash prize, N10,000 cash prize, N10,000 worth of airtime; power generating sets, refrigerator, cooking gas, smart TV and the grand prize of a brand-new car to a lucky winner.

 

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