Ex-NNPC Boss Reveals How $70m was Given to Ex-banker

Diezani Alison-Madueke,

A former Group General Manager at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in charge of Crude Oil Marketing yesterday told a Federal High Court in Lagos how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70 million to an Abuja-based banker on the instructions of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Testifying before the court as an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness in the going trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank Plc, Mr. Dauda Lawal, the witness further claimed that he delivered money to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

Lawal was docked before the court by the anti-graft agency on money laundering charges.

The former bank boss was specifically accused of handling $25 million out of a total of $153 million, which Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general election.

The ex-NNPC official, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, said he personally delivered the cash-loaded bags to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The witness also alleged, “My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister. At the end of such briefing, the then Minster of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My Lord, the source, the content and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me. Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, My Lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect. Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained the sum of $70million.”

When asked by the prosecutor to describe the kind of relationship he and others had with Diezani, the witness said, “We had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority.”

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr. Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

The trial judge, Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned till July 21, 22 and 23 for continuation of trial.