Again, EFCC Arraigns Two for $115m Diezani Largesse
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned Joel Madaki and Felix Bilishan Tagwame, before Justice A.M. Anka of the Federal High Court, Yola, Adamawa State, on four counts bordering on conspiracy, misappropriation and diversion of funds.
Investigation into the $115million fraud involving Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, was linked to them. It was further revealed that the said funds were exchanged to an equivalent sum of N23, 299,705,000 and was used for the 2015 presidential election. Substantial amount of the funds, investigations showed, were shared to some staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC across the nation by Fidelity Bank on behalf of Madueke.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Chief Madaki, Amb. Hassan Adamu (now at large) sometimes in March 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State of Nigeria within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to accept cash payment of the sum of Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira only (N450,000,000) from one Shaba Mohammed, Head of Operations, Yola Branch of Fidelity Bank, Adamawa State, which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law and thereby committed and offence contrary to section 18 (1) (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) (amended) Act. 2012 and punishable under section 16 (2) (b) of the Same Act”.
Another count reads: “That you Chief Joel Madaki, Felix Bilishan Tagwame and Amb. Hassan Adamu (now at large) sometimes in March 2015 at Yola, Adamawa State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to make cash payment of the sum of Four Hundred and Thirty Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Forty Thousand Naira (N439,940,000) which sum exceeded the amount authorized by law and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(1) (a) of the money laundering (prohibited) (amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under section 16 (2) (b) of the same act”.
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Prosecuting counsel, A.M. Labaran asked for a date for trial to commence and urged the Court to remand them in prison custody.
Defence counsel, A.T. Shehu, however, moved applications for bail.
The application for bail, was however, opposed by the prosecution.
Justice Anka, after listening to the various arguments, granted them bail in the sum of N200million and surety in like sum.
“The surety must be 50 years or above, residing within the court jurisdiction, the surety must submit his bank statements to the registry of the court, to also swear to affidavit of means, the surety must have permanent voters card and national ID card, the surety must submit two passport photographs to the court, the surety must have verifiable phone numbers, the address of the surety to be verified by the court and the prosecution,” the judge added.
The matter has been adjourned to February 5, 2019 for trial.