By Innocent Anaba
A Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, former Group General Manager in charge of Crude Oil Marketing has narrated to a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, how he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70 million to an Abuja-based banker on the instruction of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The trial judge in the matter is Justice Muslim Hassan.
The ex-NNPC boss, who is an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecution witness in the going trial of a former Executive Director, an old generation bank, Dauda Lawal, further claimed that he delivered money to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.
Lawal is being prosecuted before the court on money laundering charges.
The former bank boss was alleged to have handled $25 million out of a total of $153 million, which Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general election.
The ex-NNPC GM, while being led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said he personally delivered the cash loaded in bags to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.
He told the court: “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 Minister of Petroleum Resources, 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.
“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, 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.”
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, the witness said he had never met Lawal before.
The court adjourned till July 21, 22 and 23 for the continuation of trial.