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Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke speaks at a media briefing on a new gas price regime in the capital of Abuja May 27, 2010.Nigeria's state power company will pay energy companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil more for their gas to encourage investment and boost supply capacity, the oil minister said on Thursday.REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY)

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday fixed judgment for April 27 in the trial of an INEC official, Christian Nwosu, who pleaded guilty to the charge of money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke and three officials for money laundering.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke, who was described in the charge as “still at large”, is charged alongside the three officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission on a seven-count charge bothering on money laundering.

The INEC officials are Christian Nwosu, Yisa Olarenwaju and Tijani Bashir.

When the officials were arraigned, Mr, Nwosu entered a guilty plea, while Messrs. Adedoyin and Bashir denied the charges. The court had adjourned the case for sentence of Mr. Nwosu until Friday, April 7.

However, Justice Mohammed Idris could not proceed with the judgment following the absence of the accused in court as they were said to have been held up in traffic.

He then reserved the judgment for April 27.

 

Mr. Nwosu was remanded in the EFCC custody, while the other accused persons were granted N50 million bail each.

Earlier, the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that Mr. Nwosu had entered into plea bargain with the EFCC.

He added that Mr. Nwosu had already made a refund of N5 million, and also surrendered the title documents of a landed property he purchased for N25 million in Delta.

Reacting, Mr. Nwosu’s lawyer, Adeku Nbangba, confirmed the position and pleaded with Justice Idris to temper justice with mercy in deciding the fate of the accused.

The prosecution alleged that the accused committed the offences on March 27, 2015 by accepting bribe from the former Petroleum Minister.

They were alleged to have conspired to take possession of the sum of about N264 million which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of gratification.

The accused were also said to have made cash payments of the sum of about N235 million which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through a financial institution.

The anti-graft body alleged that Mr. Bashir (the fourth accused) also made cash payment of about N70.1 million to Mr. Adedoyin (third accused) without going through a financial institution and which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law.

According to the prosecution, Mr. Bashir also directly took possession of the sum of about N165 million which he ought reasonably to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

Mr. Nwosu was also alleged to have directly used the sum of N30 million which he ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of gratification.

The offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (3), 16 (2) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2012.

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