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EFCC Arraigns Former Minister, Sarah Ochekpe, Others Over N450m Diezani Fund



EFCC Arraigns Maina Over Navy Captain’s N9 Million

Former Minister, water Resources: Sarah Ochekpe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has dragged former water resources minister, Sarah Ochekpe, former Plateau PDP chairman, Raymond Dabo, as well as Coordinator of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan campaign in Plateau, Leo Jatau before a federal high court for collecting N450 million from former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison- Madueke, in 2015.

A prosecution witness, Annette Gyen, provided this information in a Jos Federal High Court on Monday.

The anti-graft agency is alleging that the three collected N450 million from one Annette Olije-Gyen, Operation Manager of Fidelity Bank, which exceeded the amount authorised by law.

The EFCC has also alleged that the offence contravened sections 18 (a)(d), 1 (a), 16(1)(d), and was punishable under section 16 (2) of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2012, (as amended).

Ms Gyen, in her testimony, told the court that her boss, who was the then Group Divisional Head of Operations, Martins Ezuogbe, directed the bank cashiers to disburse the money to the trio.

“On March 26, 2015, we obediently called the trio, who came to our office and were given the money.

“After confirming the money, we gave them our bullion van with which they conveyed it.”

She said that on January 8, 2017, the bank received a letter from EFCC asking for details of the transaction.

“On January 11, we responded to that request,” she said.

A NAN correspondent, reports that the prosecutor, Ahmed Munchaka’s request that the two letters be tendered as evidence was, however, vehemently rejected by the defence lawyers.

Messrs Gyang Zi and S.O. Oyewale, lawyers to Messrs Ochekpe, Jatau and Dabo, argued that the letters should not be admitted because they were not original copies.

“The bank should have produced original copies of the letters; the court cannot work with photocopies because they might have been tampered with. We can only accept original copies,” they argued.

Mr Munchaka, however, insisted that the letters be admitted since they had been authenticated by all parties.

“The letters are acceptable in law because they have been authenticated; they are as good as original copies,” he argued.

He further argued that the documents should be admitted because they were “very vital letters in evidence”.

The judge, Musa Kurya, after listening to the two party’s account, adjourned the case  till May 17 and May 18 for ruling on whether or not to admit the letters, and continuation of the hearing.

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