EFCC Arraigns Belgore, Ex -Minister for Money Laundering

The Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, today February 8, 2017, arraigned a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Muhammed Dele Belgore and a former
minister, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman before Justice R.M Aikawa of the
Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos on a 5-count charge of
 conspiracy and possession of proceeds of crime to the tune of Four
Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N450, 000, 000. 000).
The
defendants are alleged to have made a payment of Fifty Million Naira
(N50, 000, 000. 00) to one Sheriff Shagaya and also taken possession of
the sum of Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N450, 000, 000. 000)
without going through a financial institution.
One
of the counts reads, “that you, Muhammed Dele Belgore (SAN) and
Professor Abubakar Sulaiman on or about the 27th day of March, 2015, in
Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired
amongst yourselves to directly take possession of the N450, 000, 000. 00
(Four Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) which sum you reasonably ought
to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you
thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money
Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under
Section 15(3) & 4 of the same Act”.
Another
count reads, “that you, Muhammed Dele Belgore (SAN) and Professor
Abubakar Sulaiman on or about the 27th day of March, 2015 in Nigeria
within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court directly took
possession of the sum of N450, 000, 000. 00 (Four Hundred and Fifty
Million Naira) which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part
of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence
contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition)
(Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the
Same Act”.
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’
to the charges preferred against them. In view of their plea,  counsel
to the first defendant, Ebun Shofunde, (SAN) prayed the court to grant
bail to his client based on self recognizance. “He is a Senior Advocate
of Nigeria and not likely to jump any bail; he has been faithful to the
administrative bail granted him and will make sure to stand his trial”,
he said.
In
the same manner, counsel to the second defendant, Chief Bolaji
Ayorinde, (SAN) also prayed the court to grant his client bail on self
recognizance. “He is a Professor of Political Science at the
University
of Abuja and was once a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he
submitted himself to the EFCC and never jumped the administrative bail
granted him”, he said.
Rotimi
Oyedepo, counsel to the EFCC did not oppose bail but asked the court to
grant the defendants bail in terms that will compel them to be
available for trial.
Justice
Aikawa granted the defendants bail on self recognizance and ordered
that their international passports be deposited with the Deputy Chief
Registrar of the court and must only be released on court order.
The matter was adjourned to February 23, 2017 for trial.
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