Diezani Alison Madueke, Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum Resources has denied giving $70m to a former Group General Manager at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as narrated before a Federal High Court, Lagos, on July 10.
The ex-NNPC GM appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Executive Director, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) on money laundering charges.
He claimed he delivered 12 padlocked bags containing $70m to an Abuja-based banker on the instructions of Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The trial opened on Thursday before Justice Muslim Hassan, with the ex-NNPC GM appearing as the first prosecution witness.
Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered the cash-loaded bags to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.
When asked by the prosecutor to describe the kind of relationship he and others had with Diezani, the witness said, “We had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority.”
A reliable source close to the former minister of petroleum resources has expressed total shock and dismay about the lies being conveyed in the court of law under oath. The fact that this man is being coerced to lie in court is blantantly obvious adding that the signs are clear that this poor man is being threatened in some shape or form to lie against this innocent woman.
“It is very clear and totally possible given all the shenanigans that has recently been exposed to be at play at the EFCC, that led to the sacking of the acting chairman of the EFCC, this is most definitely the case for the following reasons:
* She did not, at any time, give the GM the said monies to deliver
* She did not, at any time, steal monies from NNPC, or any other arm of government
* On many occasions, she held advisory discussions with operational heads, as expected, to get their input on matters at hand. Therefore, the description of a ‘Command and Obey’ structure, is extremely misleading.
* At no time, did she make the GM, or any others, take an oath of office, to ‘obey directives and authority’.
* She does not know whom he is referring to as ‘Charles’.
* How would it be possible that $70m, in 12 padlocked bags, would be transacted in front of a supermarket, in the full glare of the public.
* Incidentally, this same GM has called her from time to time, to tell her how loyal he has been. And how, whenever he was detained and interrogated by the EFCC, he has always told the truth, in terms of her compliance with administrative procedures and with Due Process.
* About 10 months ago, the same GM called her from Ghana and narrated to her, how he would never forget how she asked for and took his advise, on a particular matter. When his immediate superiors were advising to the contrary.
* Early this year, the same GM informed her that the EFCC had dragged him into their offices for another round of questioning. And that they were threatening him in a number of ways, in a bid to coerce him to stand as one of their prosecution witnesses against Mr Dauda Lawal, the former First Bank Director. He stated that he had told the EFCC operatives that he would not lie and would not commit perjury by standing as their prosecution witness.