“I Delivered 12 Bags Containing $70m To Banker On Diezani’s Instructions” – Witness Tells Court
A former Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in charge of Crude Oil Marketing, Gbenga Olu Komolafe has revealed 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 in 2015.
Komolafe made the revelation on Wednesday while testifying before the Federal High Court in Lagos, during the going trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal.
Lawal is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N928,000,000.
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 elections.
During the trial opened on Thursday, led in evidence by EFCC Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered Diezani’s cash-laden bags to the Abuja banker, identified simply as Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.
“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, ” he said.
“At the end of such briefings, the then Honourable Mninster 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 $70 million .”
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, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.
Justice Muslim Hassan adjourned till July 21, 22 and 23 for continuation of trial.
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily had reported how Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke secured immunity from persecution by the Nigerian Government following her alleged citizenship and appointment as the Trade and Investment commissioner in Dominican Republic.