Dele Belgore, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has debunked the allegation by the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee (EFCC) that he laundered the sum of N450million in 2015.
The EFCC is prosecuting him earlier than the Federal Excessive Courtroom in Lagos for allegedly benefiting N450million from the sum of $115.01million, which Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Assets, allegedly doled out to affect the 2015 elections.
The EFCC mentioned Belgore, alongside a former Minister of Nationwide Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, went to a department of Constancy Financial institution in Ilorin on March 26, 2015, to signal for and accumulate the N450million money.
Nevertheless, whereas testifying in his defence on Monday, Belgore admitted being invited by the financial institution supervisor on March 26, 2015, to take supply of the N450million money, however mentioned he left the financial institution with out the cash.
The SAN, who mentioned he was the Kwara State Coordinator of then President Goodluck Jonathan reelection marketing campaign, mentioned he didn’t accumulate the N450million as a result of on attending to the financial institution, he realised that the cash was too large for his Toyota Prado jeep.
Belgore mentioned: “I indicated to PW1 (financial institution supervisor) that I couldn’t accumulate the cash and I gave two causes. First, I mentioned this cash was coming two days earlier than the election; all of the stakeholders and celebration members had been conscious of the arrival of the cash and subsequently, I didn’t contemplate it secure to maneuver such an enormous sum of money out of the financial institution in the course of the evening.
“The second cause was that I didn’t come ready to obtain and take away such a lot of cash, as I got here solely in my car, 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 mentioned following an extended argument between him, Suleiman and the financial institution supervisor, the financial institution supervisor informed them to signal for the cash and agreed to maintain the cash within the financial institution’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 mentioned.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa adjourned additional proceedings until February 28, 2019, on the occasion of Ebun Shofunde (SAN), Belgore’s lawyer, who mentioned he wanted time to preview the CCTV footage of the occasions that occurred inside the banking corridor on March 26, 2015, when Belgore and Suleiman visited.
Within the prices in opposition to them, the EFCC insisted that Belgore and Suleiman acquired N450million from Diezani and laundered identical.
The anti-graft company mentioned they should have “reasonably known” that the N450million was a part of proceeds of illegal actions, including that they dealt with the cash with out going by way of any monetary establishment, opposite to the provisions of the Cash Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The duo pleaded not responsible to the costs.