Ex-minister to pay N4million fine after conviction for collecting N450m Diezani loot

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Gombe Zonal Command, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, secured the conviction of a former Minister of Water Resources in the administration former President Goodluck Jonathan, Sarah Ochekpe and two others, Evan Leo Sunday Jitong and Raymond Dabo, deputy director for Goodluck/Sambo 2015 election campaign and former acting chairman of PDP, Plateau State respectively.

The trio was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment with an option of paying N4m each by Justice H. M. Kurya of the Federal High Court, Jos, Plateau State, on an amended three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

They were alleged to have received the sum of N450million from Fidelity Bank Plc through cash and wire transfer from some oil companies and former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Investigation had showed that on the March 26, 2015, the sum of N450million were withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by Fidelity Bank Plc Jos main branch and it was handed over to the defendants in cash after they signed for collection.

Though the defendants claimed that they handed over the money to late Senator Gyang Pwajok, the Plateau State PDP governorship candidate in 2015, they however failed to provide any evidence to support the claim.

The defendants were convicted on count one, bordering on conspiracy to accept cash payment above threshold under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012 (as amended) and sentenced to three (3) years imprisonment with an option of N2,000,000.00 fine each.

On count two, the defendants were convicted and sentenced to three (3) years imprisonment with an option of N2,000,000 fine each.

The sentences are to run consecutively.

The court discharged and acquitted them on count three which borders on retention of funds.

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