N23bn Bribe: Diezani, Others Charged With Money Laundering, Inec Staff Pleads Guilty
BEVERLY HILLS, April 05, (THEWILL) – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday arraigned a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke (said to be at large), and three others for money laundering.
One of the defendants, a staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Christian Nwosu pleaded guilty to receiving N30million as bribe from the N23billion alleged Diezani bribe meant to compromise electoral officers before the 2015 general election.
Nwosu was among three INEC officials that were docked by the EFCC before Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on a 7-count charge bordering on receiving gratification to the tune of N264,880,000.00 (Two Hundred and Sixty-four Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira).
Nwosu and the other accused persons, Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin and Tijani Bashir had, on March 27, 2015, allegedly received bribes from Diezani ahead of the 2015 general election.
The charges were to the three accused persons who were present in court, and Nwosu, pleaded guilty to the charges while Adedoyin and Bashir pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo then informed the trial judge that Nwosu had elected to enter into plea bargain with the EFCC adding that Nwosu had already made a refund of N5 million and surrendered the title document of a landed property he purchased for N25 million in Delta State.
In his address, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the first defendant had entered a plea bargain agreement with the Commission also stating that “the first defendant also gave account of the properties he used the money to acquire.
“He brought the title documents to the EFCC office.
“Having demonstrated remorse and given useful information to aid the prosecution of the case, he has entered into an agreement to forfeit the properties to the Federal Government. The properties are listed in the paragraphs 1 and 2 of the plea bargain agreement.
“The EFCC has recovered the N5m left from the first defendant, having spent N25m to acquire properties.”
Counsel to the first defendant, Adaku Ngbangba, pleaded with the court to grant her client bail on self-recognizance, adding that “he is a first-time offender. He has put in over 20 years in service. Given his honestly, I urge you, my Lord, to grant him bail on liberal terms.”
Counsels to the second defendant, Ngbangba, as well as counsel to the third defendant, Nelson Imoh, also pleaded with the court to grant their clients bail on self-recognizance.
Consequently, Justice Idris found the first defendant liable as charged on count seven but deferred the sentencing of the first defendant to May 7, 2017 .
He ordered that the first defendant o be remanded in the EFCC custody till the next adjourned date but granted bail in the sum of N50 million each to Adedoyin and Bashir, adding that they should deposit their international passport with the court's registrar.