Ex-Petroleum Minister, Madueke Charged With Money Laundering

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke
Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, has been charged with money laundering alongside three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The 7-count charges were filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court Lagos.

According to the charge sheet, the former Minister, was described as “still at large”, while the names of the other accused persons were given as Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olarenwaju and Tijani Bashir.

After the charges were read, one of the defendants, Nwosu, pleaded guilty to the charges, while Adedoyin and Bashir pleaded not guilty.

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Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court that Nwosu had agreed to enter into plea bargain with the EFCC and has already returned the sum of N5 million as well as handed over the document of a landed property he purchased for N25 million in Delta State.

Nwosu’s lawyer, Adeku Nbangba, confirmed the development and pleaded with the trial Judge to temper justice with mercy in deciding the fate of her client.

The other defendants who pleaded not guilty were granted bail at the sum of N50 million while their travelling documents are to be deposited with the court’s registrar.

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Justice Idris thereafter adjourned the matter to April 7, for judgment, but directed that Nwosu be remanded at the EFCC custody.

The three INEC officials were accused of accepting bribe from the ex- petroleum minister, in March 2015, amounting to N264 million.

They were also said to have made cash payments of about N235 million without going through a financial Institution.

The EFCC claimed that Bashir had made a cash payment of about N70.1 million to Adedoyin without going through a financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law.

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Also Bashir was accused of directly taking possession of the sum of about N165 million which he ought reasonably to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

In another count, Nwosu was alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

The offences are said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2012.