Trial: EFCC traces N1.45Bn from Diezani loot to Rivers SSG, one other

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Part of the alleged Diezani Alison-Madueke loot ($115) has been traced to two top political figures that are now on trial. One is the secretary to the Rivers State government who was just made minister before the 2015 elections, and another is a prominent politician.

Details: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Kenneth Kobani before Justice B. Bilikisu of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N750 million.

Specifically, Kobani, and a Rivers politician, Samuel Okpoko, were docked for collecting N750 million from the Garrison branch of a new generation bank in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on the eve of the 2015 general elections.

The money is part of the infamous $115 million Diezani Alison- Madueke cash allegedly deployed to bribe several politicians and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Mr Kobani allegedly collected N50 million while Mr Okpoko allegedly collected the remaining N700 million.

Count one of the charge read: “That you Samuel Johnson Okposo on or about the 27th day of March, 2015 in Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this court, did conspire and aid other persons yet to be charged, to acquire and take possession and control of the sum of Seven Hundred Million Naira (N700,000,000.00) from Fidelity Bank location Garrison, Port Harcourt, reasonably knowing and or ought to have known that such fund or property forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) and punishable under section 15( 3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended”.

Count two of the charge read: “That you Kenneth Kobani on or about the 27th day of March, 2015 in Port Harcourt, within the jurisdiction of this court, did conspire and aid other persons yet to be charged, to acquire and take possession and control of the sum of Fifty Million Naira (N50, 000,000.00) from Fidelity Bank location Garrison, Port Harcourt, reasonably knowing and or ought to have known that such fund or property forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) and punishable under section 15 ( 3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended.”

When the charges were read to them, they pleaded “not guilty.”

Prosecution counsel, C.A. Okoli, told the court that he was ready for trial and prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison custody. However, the lead defense counsel, C.A. Okala, sued for the bail of the defendants.

Justice B. Bilikisup, in her ruling, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N50 million and a surety each in like sum. She adjourned the matter to June 4 for trial.