Belgore, Suleiman Re-arraigned for Money Laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday re-arraigned a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Dele Belgore and the former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman, for alleged money laundering.
The anti-graft agency also closed its case.

The defendants told Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos of their intention to file no case submissions on the matter.
In effect, they intend not to call any witness to defend themselves because they believe the prosecution did not present a strong case against them.

The judge, however, can dismiss the submissions and direct them to open their defence.
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is also named in the charge.
EFCC said she is “at large.”

In the nine-count amended charge, EFCC accused Mrs. Alison-Madueke, Belgore and Suleiman of making cash payment of N10million to a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dr. Emmanuel Onucheyo.

The Commission said they also paid N10million to a Commissioner of Police, Garba Saliu.
EFCC also alleged that the defendants “directly took possession of the sum N450million,” adding that they “reasonably ought to have known [that the money] forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act.”

They pleaded not guilty to the second amended charge.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he had no more witnesses to call.
Two witnesses testified in the trial which began on February 8.

EFCC also tendered several documents, including those showing how the N450m allegedly received from Mrs. Alison-Madueke was “shared.”
Also tendered is a receipt which they allegedly signed to acknowledge receiving the money.
Defence counsel, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), indicated that they would file no-case submissions on their clients’ behalf.