Nigerian Tribune: Mr. Dele Belgore, the embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who is standing trial over alleged ₦450 million fraud, on Monday admitted before a Federal High Court that he gave ₦10 million to the then commissioner of Police in Kwara State a day to the 2015 Presidential election
Tribune Online recalls that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed a 9-count charge bordering on the alleged offence of the lawyer and a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman.
The duo had however pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At Monday’s proceedings, Belgore who was the campaign coordinator of the reelection bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan in Kwara State admitted to have delivered ₦10 million to 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 ₦10 million he delivered to the police boss was part of the ₦450 million he allegedly collected from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
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 reelection bid of former President Jonathan in Kwara State, he had no dealings with Mrs. Diezani and that he was not aware that the ₦450 million he signed for in 2015 came from her.
However, under cross-examination by the prosecutor when he was being confronted with his extrajudicial statement at the EFCC admitted that he gave money to the police boss without going through a financial institution.
“I delivered ₦10 million to the then Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Garba Salihu on March 27, 2015. And the money was part of ₦450 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 delivered 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 as 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 ₦450 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 ₦450 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of an 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 ₦50 million to one, Sheriff Shagaya, without going through the banks.