Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
The embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Dele Belgore, who is standing trial over alleged N450 million fraud, today admitted giving N10 million to the then Commissioner of Police in Kwara State. a day to the 2015 Presidential election
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a 9-count charge bordering on the alleged offence on the lawyer and a former Minister of National Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman before Justice Mohammed Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
During the proceedings today, Belgore who was the Campaign Coordinator of the re-election bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Kwara State, admitted to have delivered N10 million to then Commissioner of Police Garba Salihu on March 27, 2015.
Belgore had earlier denied the allegation in his defence, but admitted under cross examination by the Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, that the N10 million he delivered to the police boss was part of the N450 million he allegedly collected from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Before he was cross- examined by Oyedepo, while being cross examined by the counsel to the second accused person, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), insisted that the N450 million which was set aside as campaign fund for the re-election of former President Jonathan in 2015 was from series of fund raising activities done by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He also denied claims that the money was from Mrs. Alison-Madueke. Belgore, who denied all the nine count charges pressed on him, said throughout his tenure as the campaign coordinator of the re-election bid of former President Jonathan in Kwara state, he had no dealings with Mrs. Diezani and that he was not aware that the N450 million he signed for in 2015 came from her.
However, under cross examination by the prosecutor when he was being confronted with his extra judicial statement at the EFCC, Belgore admitted that he gave money to the police boss without going through financial institution.
“I delivered N10 million to the then Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Garba Salihu on March 27, 2015. And the money was part of N450 million sent to Kwara State. I did not use any financial institution instrument to withdraw the money and there is no bank’s record to show for it because I deliver it “, he said.
When Oyedepo asked him if he was a PDP leader in Kwara State, he answered yes, but when asked again whether Kwara State PDP has any bank account he replied that he didn’t know whether the party is operating any bank account.
He also admitted that there was no written instruction to the bank where he took possession of N450 million he claimed was sent from their party’s headquarters in Abuja.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned till May 15.
In the 9-count charge, the EFCC alleged that Mrs. Diezani (said to be at large) conspired with Belgore and Sulaiman on or about March 27, 2015, to directly take possession of the sum of N450 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act.
The trio were also alleged to have taken the said funds in cash, which exceeded the amount authorised by law, without going through the financial institutions.
Belgore, Sulaiman and Madueke were also alleged to have paid the sum of N50 million to one, Sheriff Shagaya, without going through the banks.
They were equally accused of paying the sum of N10 million to one, Dr. Emmanuel Onucheyo, Resident Electoral Commissioners, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Kwara State, without going through any financial institution.
The EFCC also alleged that the trio paid N10 million to CP Garba Salihu, in violation of Sections 1(a), 16 (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.