Alleged Money Laundering: Dele Belgore Testifies, Claims Innocence
A former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, Mr. Dele Belgore who is standing trial before the Federal High Court, Lagos over an alleged N450 million money laundering charge, has told the court that he is innocent of the allegations.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, he told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) knew the culprits of the offense.
While accusing the anti-graft agency of freeing them, he narrated to the court of how charges were filed against him despite claiming not to have benefitted from the said amount.
Belgore who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman are standing trial before the court on a 9-count charge bordering on the alleged offence.
At today’s proceedings, Belgore who was the campaign coordinator of the re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Kwara State concluded his testimony in defence of the allegation.
While being led in evidence by his lawyer, Ebun Sofinde (SAN), the first defendant told the court that in the statement he made at EFCC, he gave detailed information to the commission about who took possession of the sum and disbursed it.
According to him, he did not admit at any time either orally or In writing of being guilty of the offences.
“I denied all the 9-count charge made against me, I have never made any payment to all the names mentioned in the charge, and in order to assist the investigators, I gave them detailed information on who took possession of the fund how it was disbursed and used, I didn’t benefit from the funds,” he said.
Belgore had also told the court that the N450 million which was set aside as campaign fund for Jonathan’s re-election in 2015 was from series of fund-raising activities done by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While rejecting claims that the money was from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, he denied having dealings with dealings or knowledge that the money came from her.
He also described as untrue, claims by the EFCC investigators that the money was part of a larger sum of N23bn allegedly collected by Mrs Diezani from three oil marketers: Northern Belt Ltd, Actus Integrated Ltd, Midwestern Company and one, Mr Leno Laitan, ahead of the 2015 general elections.
In his ruling, Justice Rilwan Aikawa adjourned till May 6, for the cross-examination of the first defendant.
Meanwhile, the court has granted permission to the second defendant to travel to Mecca for lesser Hajj, (Humurah).
In granting the leave to travel out of the jurisdiction, the court ordered him to provide a surety who must be a civil servant and must reside in Lagos or a landed property owner in the state.
The court then ordered the second defendant to return to the country before May 6.