An Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff, Christian Nwosu, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to accepting N30million as bribe from the N23billion allegedly stolen by erstwhile petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is prosecuting three INEC staff, Nwosu, Yisa Adedoyin and Tijani Bashir on a seven-count charge bordering on receiving N265million bribes from Mrs. Alison-Madueke on March 27, 2015.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the bribe was meant to compromise the INEC officials ahead of the 2015 general elections.
One of the counts of the charges read, “That you, Mrs. Diezani Allison – Madueke (still at large), Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olanrewaju Adedoyin and Tijani Bashir on or about the 27th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired among yourselves to directly take possession of N264,880,000 (Two Hundred and Sixty-four Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: gratification and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2002 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Another one sTate’s, “That you, Christian Nwosu, on or about the 27 day of March, 2015 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court directly used the sum of N30,000,000 which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: gratification and you hereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(a) of the money laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
While the second and third defendants, Adedoyin and Bashir, pleaded not guilty to the charges, the first defendant, Nwosu, pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against him before Justice M. B. Idris of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, explained that Nwosu had entered a plea bargain agreement with the commission.
Among other explanations, Oyedepo told the court that the first defendant had admitted to having benefitted N30, 000,000. 00 and that he had also given account of the properties he used the money to acquire.
Read also: Court dismisses graft charges against Justice Ademola, wife
“He brought the title documents to the EFCC office. Having demonstrated remorse and given useful information to aid the prosecution of the case, he has entered into an agreement to forfeit the properties to the Federal Government. The properties are listed in the paragraphs 1 and 2 of the plea bargain agreement.
“The EFCC has recovered the N5million left from the first defendant, having spent N25m to acquire properties,” Oyedepo said.
Following the prayers of counsel to second and third defendants, Justice Idris admitted both the second and third defendants to bail in the sum of N50million, with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.
The second and third accused persons are also to submit their international passports to the court. They were ordered to be remanded in prison custody till the perfection of their bail conditions.
The case was adjourned to May 7, 2017 for continuation of trial.
For the first defendant, Justice Idris said he was liable as charged on count seven but deferred sentencing him till May 7, 2017.
The first defendant was ordered to be remanded in the EFCC custody till the next adjourned date.
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