$70m Was Moved On Diezani’s Orders, Ex-NNPC GM Tells Court
A former Group General Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in charge of Crude Oil Marketing, Gbenga Olu Komolafe has told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today, how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70 million to an Abuja-based banker on the instructions of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Komolafe was testifying before the court as the first prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC in the trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal who the EFCC says is an associate of the former minister.
Lawal is specifically accused of handling $25 million out of a total of $153 million, which Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly doled out to influence the outcome of the 2015 general elections.
While being led in evidence, by the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the former NNPC GM said, he personally delivered the cash-loaded bags to an Abuja based banker, one Charles, in the front of Dune Supermarket in Abuja.
In his words, “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, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.
“My Lord, the source, the content, and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me. Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.
“Much later, My Lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect. Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained the sum of $70m.”
When asked by the prosecutor to describe the kind of relationship he and others had with Diezani, the witness said, “We had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath to obey directives and authority.”
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.
The trial judge, Justice Muslim Hassan has adjourned till 21, 22, and 23 of July for the continuation of trial.