A former minister of water resources, Sarah Ochekpe, and two others have been accused of allegedly collecting N450 million from former petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke.
The two ministers served under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
Ochekpe and other accused – Raymond Dabo, former Plateau PDP chairman, and Leo Jatau, coordinator of the president Goodluck Jonathan campaign – allegedly received the money in 2015.
A witness, Annette Olije-Gyen, the operation manager of a new generation bank, said the accused withdrew N450 cash from the bank, she told a Federal High Court in Jos on Monday, April 16, 2018.
The cash exceeds the amount authorised by the law.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision (EFCC) said the offence contravens sections 18 (a)(d), 1 (a), 16(1)(d), and was punishable under section 16 (2) of money laundering (prohibition) Act 2012, (as amended).
Gyen told the court that Martins Ezuogbe, who was the then group divisional head of operations directed the bank cashiers to disburse the money to the trio.
She said, “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.”
Gyen added that on January 8, 2017, the bank received a letter from EFCC asking for details of the transaction, and “on January 11, we responded to that request.”
The prosecutor Ahmed Munchaka requested that the two letters be tendered as evidence but the defence lawyers, Gyang Zi and S.O. Oyewale raised an objected to the request.
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The defence counsels 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 said.
After listening to the parties, the presiding judge, Musa Kurya, adjourned the case till May 17 and May 18 for ruling on the admission of the letters, and the continuation of hearing.