I acted on Diezani’s instruction to deliver $70 million to banker –Witness

Friday, July 10,2020

A former Group General Manager (GM) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in charge of Crude Oil Marketing, Gbenga Olu Komolafe has revealed the circumstances in which he delivered $70 million to an Abuja-based banker. 

Komolafe revealed this while testifying before the Federal High Court, Lagos in the going trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal.

Komolafe who testified  as an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, disclosed that 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.

He said   that the Abuja based  banker, Charles took delivery of the package in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The defendant, Lawal ,was docked before the court by the anti-graft agency on money laundering charges.

The former bank boss was specifically accused of handling $25 million out of a total of $153 million, which Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 General elections.

The ex-NNPC GM while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he personally delivered the cash-loaded bags to  Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

Komolafe also alleged:“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 undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister. At the end of such briefings, the then Honourable Mninster 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 $70 million .”

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 of office 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 adjourned till July 21, 22 and 23 for continuation of trial.

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