Court

By Victor Ernest

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday fixed judgment for April 27 in the trial of an INEC official, Christian Nwosu, who pleaded guilty to the charge of money laundering.

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke and three officials for money laundering.

Three INEC officials

Allison-Madueke, who was described in the charge as ”still at large”, is charged alongside the three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission on a seven counts bothering on money laundering.

The INEC officials are Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olarenwaju and Tijani Bashir.

When the officials were arraigned, Nwosu entered a guilty plea, while Adedoyin and Bashir denied the charges.

The court had adjourned the case for sentence of Nwosu until Friday, April 7.

However, Justice Mohammed Idris could not proceed with the judgment following the absence of the accused as they were said to have been held up in traffic.

He then reserved the judgment for April 27.

Nwosu was remanded in the EFCC custody, while the other accused persons were granted N50 million bail each.

Allegations against them

The three INEC officials were alleged to have conspired to take possession of the sum of about N264 million which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of gratification.

The accused were also said to have made cash payments of the sum of about N235 million which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.

The anti-graft body alleged that Bashir (the fourth accused) also made cash payment of about N70.1 million to Adedoyin (third accused) without going through a financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law.

According to the prosecution, Bashir also directly took possession of the sum of about N165 million which he ought reasonably to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

Nwosu was also alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition
Amendment Act, 2012.