Witness tells how former minister Wakil, others, shared N450m Diezani election bribe

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A Federal High Court, sitting in Maiduguri, Borno State yesterday heard how a former minister of state for power in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, Mr. Mohammed Wakil and others shared a sum of N450 million meant to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election in Borno State.

Recall that Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on June 18, 2019 re-arraigned Wakil alongside Messrs Garba Abacha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima and Muhammad Baba Kachalla.

They were alleged to have received the said sum from the $115 million disbursed by a former minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Hon. Muhammad Wakil, Garba Abacha, Ibrahim Shehu Birma, Dr. Abubakar Ali Kullima and Engr. Muhammad Baba Kachalla on or about the 26th day of March, 2015 at Maiduguri, Borno State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did agree among yourselves to do an illegal act, to wit: conspiracy to commit money laundering and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).”

They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that at the resumed trial yesterday, counsel for the prosecution, Mr. Mukhtar Ali Ahmed led the third prosecution witness, Dauda Umar, in evidence.

He narrated how the N450 million was signed and collected in cash from Fidelity Bank by Wakil alongside the second defendant, Garba Abacha.

According to Umar, the money was disbursed across the country in which N450 million was signed and collected in cash via Fidelity Bank, Maiduguri Branch, by Wakil and Garba in order to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

We commenced investigation by inviting Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials who reported.”

Asked whether the first and second defendants were invited, the witness explained that Wakil, when invited by the EFCC, confirmed that he signed and collected in cash the said sum alongside the second defendant, for disbursement according to a template sent to him by PDP in Abuja.

Dauda told the court that the first defendant availed the EFCC with the template sent from the PDP headquarters for the disbursement of the money.

On how the money was shared, Dauda informed the court that the second defendant accompanied his principal, Wakil and witnessed the disbursement of the funds. “The third defendant was invited by Wakil and collected the sum of N120, 340,000.00 on behalf of Southern Borno.

“The fourth defendant who was also invited by Wakil signed and collected the sum of N88, 620,000.00 on behalf of Northern Borno, while the fifth defendant signed and collected the sum of N140, 860,000.00 for Borno Central.

“They all signed and collected the said amounts in cash at the residence of Wakil” Dauda stated.

Justice J.K. Dagat adjourned till June 14, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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