Diezani's $115m cash deposit was duly reported to regulatory authorities: Fidelity Bank
Fidelity Bank Plc has clarified its involvement in $115 million allegedly lodged in the bank by former Minister of Petroleum Diezanni Alison-Madueke, through which various amounts of money were paid out to influence the 2015 general elections.
The unsettling report made the headline news in various news outlets on Thursday with many wondering how a bank that has built its reputation over the years could fall for such fraudulent transactions.
But the bank made a swift reaction on Thursday saying that it had duly reported the $115 million cash deposit by made into the bank on the orders of a former minister to regulatory authorities.
The bank said that it was equally cooperating with investigators probing the cash deposit, part of which was said to have been given to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, election monitors and others connected with the 2016 presidential poll.
A statement by the Management of the bank reads, “Our attention has been drawn to reports in the media on investigations into transactions undertaken by the Bank in the normal course of business in 2015.
“The transactions are now the subject matter of investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
“We can confirm that the transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and the Bank is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation.
“We assure our numerous stakeholders, including our customers, that we are working assiduously towards a quick resolution of the issues.”
Alison-Madueke was said to have invited the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, ahead of the poll to lodge the money into the Bank.
Four companies were said to have deposited the money into accounts in the Bank.
These were Auctus Integrated, which deposited $17,884,000; Northern Belt Gas Company, which made a deposit of $60 million; Midwestern Oil and Gas, $9.5 million; and Leno Laitan Adesanya, $1.85 million.
Okonkwo was said to have received $26 million in cash himself.
Alison-Madueke's son, Ugonna Madueke, was said to have become the go-between after the cash deposits were made.
Ugonna allegedly supplied the names of the beneficiaries of the funds.
They included INEC officials, several interest groups and election monitors.
Among those who allegedly benefitted from the money was the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Cross River State, Gesil Khan.
Khan allegedly got N185,842,000.
The other INEC staff that reportedly got money from the Alison-Madueke/Okonkwo deal were Fidelia Omoile, the Electoral Officer in Isoko-South Local Government Area of Delta State, N112,480,000; Uluochi Obi Brown, INEC's Administrative Secretary in Delta State, N111,500,000; a former Deputy Director of INEC in Cross River State, Edem Okon Effanga, N241,127,000; and the Head of Voter Education of INEC in Akwa Ibom State, Immaculata Asuquo, N214,127,000.