General

N450m Fraud: Belgore Denies Knowledge of Account Opening Packages

Muhammad Dele Belgore, SAN, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 denied knowledge of the account opening package of the sum of N450,000,000 (Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) allegedly collected by him in the build up to the 2015 presidential election during his ongoing trial before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Belgore is standing trial alongside a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, for allegedly receiving the sum of N450 million on March 27, 2015 for the purpose of the 2015 general elections.

At the resumed hearing on April 4, 2019, Belgore told the court that he had no knowledge of the document tagged Exhibit 2, a letter from the Chief Compliance Officer of Fidelity Bank addressed to the Deputy Director of Operations, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), certified true copies of account opening packages, statements of accounts of some companies that the sum of N450,000,000 (Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) had passed through.

Belgore also informed the court that he only became aware of the existence of those documents when they were tendered by the prosecution.

I have no knowledge of the fact that the N450,000,000 (Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) passed through the account referred to in Exhibit 2, he said.

When asked by the defence counsel, E.O. Shofunde, SAN, to explain what he knew about Exhibit 3, Belgore told the court that Exhibit 3 was an email printout attached with certificates and sent from one Nnamdi Okonkwo to one Ogbona.

My name appears to be in a column tagged ‘Kwara’ in the document, he said.

He, however, stated that he had never met either Okonkwo or Ogbona, adding that I came across the names during the proceedings. Besides, I don’t know anything about the email.

When asked to explain his knowledge of Exhibit 7, a document that is titled: Security and Transportation (Kwara State), the witness informed the court that he was not the author of the document.

Belgore also told the court that he had no prior knowledge of the documents till it was tendered in court by the prosecution.

Shofunde then asked for an adjournment, stating that he was not physically strong to go on with the proceedings.

However, counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, raised objections to the application for adjournment arguing that it was not brought in good faith.

The learned senior counsel has other senior lawyers who can conduct examination-in-chief of the witness, he said.

He, therefore, prayed the court to reject the application.

Consequently, Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to April 12, 2019 for continuation of trial.

Source: EFCC Nigeria