Belgore SAN, Suleiman, admit collecting N450m from Diezani to rig 2015 elections - Uju Ayalogu's Blog for News, Reviews, Articles and More

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Monday 13 November 2017

Belgore SAN, Suleiman, admit collecting N450m from Diezani to rig 2015 elections

Belgore SAN, Suleiman, admit collecting N450m from Diezani to rig 2015 elections

An EFCC Prosecution witness Usman Zakari, Monday told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos how a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dele Belgore and a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, had admitted collecting the sum of N450million, from the $115million allegedly shared by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to rig the 2015 general elections.

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The wit‎ness who was testifying before Justice Rilwan Mohammed Aikawa disclosed this while he was being cross-examined by Belgore’s counsel, Ebun Shofunde SAN. Zakari, who is an investigator with EFCC, had earlier revealed this while he was being led in evidence in chief by the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo.

“The two defendants admitted signing the receipt of payment with which they collected the sum of N450 million.

The first defendant (Belgore) particularly admitted disbursing the money”, he said.

The witness said, though it was not contained in the statement ‎he wrote upon the conclusion of an investigation into the matter.

At the resumed hearing of the matter Monday ‎Rotimi Oyedepo, also hinted the court of a possible amendment of the charge against the two defendants.

He said the amendment is necessary to accommodate all evidences at the disposal of the commission.

“We intend to amend the charge in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 and the evidences with us. The law is that we can amend anytime before judgement is delivered”, the Oyedepo said.

The defence counsel Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Tunji Ayanlaja (SAN) who did not oppos the amendment, sought for time to study the amended charge anytime it is served on them by the prosecution.

However the Judge adjourned further hearing in the matter to November 24. ‎It can be recalled that in the existing five count amended charge, Diezani was alleged to have conspired with Belgore and Sulaiman on or about March 27, 2015, to directly take possession of the sum of N450 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act.

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The trio were also alleged to have taken the said funds in cash, which exceeded the amount authorized by law, without going through any financial institutions. Belgore and Sulaiman were also alleged to have paid the sum of N50 million to one, Sheriff Shagaya, without going through any bank.

According to the EFCC ‎the offences committed are contrary to Sections 18(a), 15(2)(d), 1(a), 16(d) and punishable under Sections 15(3) and 4, 16 (2)(b), and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

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