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I Couldn’t Take Diezani’s N450m Because It Was Too Huge For My Jeep – Belgore

Posted by:- || Date:- February 12, 2019 || Time:- 10:32 pm || Under:- Local News || Tags:-


BY SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORKFEB 11, 2019

Dele Belgore, a Senior
Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has debunked the allegation by the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he laundered the sum of
N450million in 2015.

The EFCC is prosecuting him before the
Federal High Court in Lagos for allegedly benefiting N450million from
the sum of $115.01million, which Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former
Minister of Petroleum Resources, allegedly doled out to influence the
2015 elections.

The EFCC said Belgore, alongside a former
Minister of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, went to a
branch of Fidelity Bank in Ilorin on March 26, 2015, to sign for and
collect the N450million cash.

However, while testifying in his
defence on Monday, Belgore admitted being invited by the bank manager on
March 26, 2015, to take delivery of the N450million cash, but said he
left the bank without the money.

The
SAN, who said he was the Kwara State Coordinator of then President
Goodluck Jonathan reelection campaign, said he did not collect the
N450million because on getting to the bank, he realised that the money
was too huge for his Toyota Prado jeep.

Belgore said: “I
indicated to PW1 (bank manager) that I could not collect the money and I
gave two reasons. First, I said this money was coming two days before
the election; all the stakeholders and party members were aware of the
arrival of the money and therefore, I did not consider it safe to move
such a huge amount of money out of the bank in the middle of the night.

“The
second reason was that I did not come prepared to receive and take away
such a large amount of money, as I came only in my vehicle, a Toyota
Prado jeep.

“As I said earlier, the
heap of cash that I saw in the bank’s loading bay was at least three to
four feet high. So, I told PW1 that if it took a bullion van to
transport the cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria to Fidelity Bank,
there was no way I would be able to evacuate those funds with my Toyota
Prado.”

Belgore said following a long argument between
him, Suleiman and the bank manager, the bank manager told them to sign
for the money and agreed to keep the money in the bank’s vault.

“After
signing the document, I left the bank without the money. I did not take
a penny out of the bank; I left the bank empty-handed,” he said.

Justice
Rilwan Aikawa adjourned further proceedings till February 28, 2019, at
the instance of Ebun Shofunde (SAN), Belgore’s lawyer, who said he
needed time to preview the CCTV footage of the events that took place
within the banking hall on March 26, 2015, when Belgore and Suleiman
visited.

In the charges against them, the EFCC insisted that Belgore and Suleiman received N450million from Diezani and laundered same.

The
anti-graft agency said they ought to have “reasonably known” that the
N450million was part of proceeds of unlawful activities, adding that
they handled the money without going through any financial institution,
contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

The duo pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Source:- Saharareporters


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