2015 polls: I gave N10m cash to Kwara CP, says Belgore
Mr Dele Belgore (SAN), who is being prosecuted for allegedly laundering N450m in the build-up to the 2015 general elections, told the court on Monday that he gave N10m out of the money to the then Commissioner of Police in Kwara State, whose name he gave as Garba.
Belgore made the admission before the Federal High Court in Lagos, where he is being prosecuted alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof Abubakar Suleiman.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claimed that they collected N450m out of the sum of $115.01m, which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly doled out to compromise the 2015 presidential election.
Belgore and Suleiman were accused of handling the money without going through any financial institution, contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
But the two defendants have denied the allegations.
They maintained that though they were invited on March 26, 2015 - two days to the 2015 presidential election - by the manager of a Fidelity Bank branch in Ilorin to collect the N450m, they ended up not leaving the bank premises with the money despite that they signed for its collection.
Belgore also maintained that he never knew Diezani, adding that the N450m that he and Suleiman signed for came from the headquarters of the Jonathan campaign organisation in Abuja.
While being cross-examined by the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, Belgore admitted that he indeed gave N10m to the then Commissioner of Police in Kwara State.
He initially disagreed with the prosecutor that the N10m was from the N450m. He also denied the suggestion by the prosecutor that N10m was from his private purse.
But when the prosecutor asked him to then tell the court the source of the N10m if it was not from those two sources, Belgore then admitted that it was indeed from the N450m.
He also answered in the affirmative when the prosecutor told him that "You did not transfer the N10m from any known account of yours."
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He gave a similar response when Oyedepo told him that, "You cannot produce any instructions you issued to any financial institution in Nigeria for the purpose of this N10m."
Earlier while being led in evidence by Suleiman's lawyer, Mr Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Belgore had insisted that he did not take delivery of the N450m for onward distribution to various agents of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara for the 2015 polls.
He said with two days to the presidential election it was practically impossible for him to have shared the money among the collation agents across the 872 polling units, 193 wards, 16 local government areas, and three senatorial districts in Kwara State.
"I went to the bank on the 26th of March; the election was on the 28th of March, 2015. It was humanly impossible for the two of us (himself and Suleiman) to have successfully distributed the money across the state in two days," the SAN had said.
Justice Rilwan Aikawa adjourned till May 15 for the continuation of cross-examination.