Nigerians in Shock as EFCC drops corruption charges against Diezani
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped the corruption charges against Allison Madueke Diezani, former Minister of Petroleum, Ben Otti, Stanley Lawson, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Lanre Adesanya and Dauda Lawal, who are all former bank workers and ex-workers of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
In 2018, Diezani was arraigned alongside other top guns of commercial banks and NNPC for diversion of funds in order to finance the second term presidential campaign of former President Goodluck.
However, in a report obtained bybDaily Trust, the EFCC withdrew the 14-count corruption charges through its legal counsel Rotimi Oyedepo at a Federal High court in Lagos on November 5th 2019.
Rotimi asked that the charges be dropped in the corruption case which was presided by Justice Muslim Hassan due to amendments made in the charges.
The 14-count charge has been reduced to a 4-count charge with most if the accused including Diezani exonerated.
According to Daily Trust, “The amended charges which border on money laundering only seeks to prosecute a former Executive Director of First Bank PLC, Dauda Lawal alongside Deizani Madueke and Ben Otti who served as Group Executive Director of finance at the NNPC.”
“Madueke and Ben Otti have both been at large since the beginning of the matter which was first filed in Court on 28th November 2018.”
“Lawal then Executive Director of First bank is being accused of assisting Madueke to purchase a property known as Merdien Hotel Ogeyi Palace in Port Harcourt when he received $25m from Fidelity Bank and deposited the same amount with Sterling Bank allegedly on the instruction of Stanley Lawson.”
“A source familiar with the First Bank transaction noted that it is curious how the banker who had no contact with Madueke and was only acting on the instruction of a customer can be charged for conspiracy, while those who were alleged to be directly linked to the funds have been exonerated”
However, Wilson Uwajuren Spokesman of the EFCC has refused to comment on the matter, saying he is not aware of the new development.