A first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of an Executive Director with First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal, on Wednesday, told the Federal High, Lagos, how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70m to an Abuja-based banker on the instructions of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke in 2015.
The witness, a former Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) gave the testimony before Justice Muslim Hassan at the resumed hearing on the banker’s trial for alleged money laundering.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Lawal for allegedly handling the sum of $25m, out of a total of $153m doled out by the ex-minister in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
At Wednesday’s hearing, the witness, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, told Justice Hassan how he delivered some bags loaded with cash to an Abuja-based banker, one Charles, at Dume Supermarket in Abuja.
He said: “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 an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.
“At the end of such briefings, the then Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one banker, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to him.
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“The source, the content and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me.
“Thereafter, I called the banker who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message.
“I delivered the bags to him.
“Much later, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect.
“The banker equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained the sum of $70m.”
On his relationship with Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who fled the county after the 2015 election, the witness added: “We had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority.”
When he was cross-examined by the defence counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.
Justice Hassan adjourned the matter to July 21, 22, and 23, 2020 for the continuation of trial.
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