Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, was on Monday added as an accused person in the ongoing trial of Mohammed Belgore, a former governorship candidate in Kwara State and Abubakar Sulaiman, a former Minister of National Planning, for an alleged N450million money laundering.
Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor had amended the five-count charge and joined Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
The first two were first arraigned sometime in February before Justice Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court Lagos on a five-count charge bordering on money laundering.
However, at the resumed trial on Monday, Mr. Oyedepo informed the court of an amendment in the charge which was the inclusion of Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
The amended charge was read before Belgore and Sulaiman who pleaded not guilty.
Upon their plea, the EFCC called in its first witness, Mr. Timoty Olaobaju, a banker, who informed the court that sometime in April 2014, a cash deposit of about $115million was lodged into Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s account.
The banker added that on March 27, 2015, Mrs. Alison-Madueke ordered the bank to convert the said sum into Naira and paid to some beneficiaries who included Mr. Belgore and Mr. Sulaiman.
He further noted that the two accused received the sum of N450million and filled the payment form to acknowledge that they received the money.
Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo tendered the form filled by the accused persons as evidence.
Consequently, Justice Aikawa admitted the form as evidence and marked them as Exhibits 1 and 1a.
The Banker further noted that no cheque was issued concerning the funds adding that the accused only singed the form on March 26, 2015 and received the money on March 27, 2015.
The accused were alleged to have moved the funds in cash which exceeded the amount authorized by law without going through financial institution.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 1(a), 15, 16(d) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
The court adjourned the case to March 14 for further hearing.