The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonwo and the its Head of Operations, Martins Izuogbe have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly receiving $115 million from embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
According to a reliable source who craved for anonymity inside the EFCC, Okonkwo is currently in custody of the EFCC over the disbursement of the alleged funds that were traced to Fidelity Bank.
The fund is part of the Commission’s investigation into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom States received N675.1 million as bribe.
The source said that during interrogation, Okonkwo confirmed that during the build-up to the last presidential election, Diezani at a meeting in Abuja told him that some companies would deposit some funds in his bank and that she would give him further instructions on how the funds would be disbursed.
Okonwo was said to have mentioned Auctus Integrated which deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m while the MD himself received $26m in cash.
The source alleged that Diezani’s son, Ugonna Madueke, later served as a middleman between the former minister and the MD of the bank.
He said it was Diezani’s son who forwarded the names of the beneficiaries of the funds, which included INEC officials and several interest groups as well as election monitors, who were expected to compromise the electoral process.
He said, “The MD said it was Diezani’s son that sent him a list of beneficiaries which included several INEC officials and election monitors across the 36 states. Diezani specifically instructed that the funds be disbursed at least a day or two before the elections. The total amount of money was $115m and Diezani told the bank to convert the funds into naira, which was about N23.3bn at the time.
“However, the suspects told us that the volume of money was too big and they had problems converting the funds. So, Diezani told the bank MD to use the bank’s funds and hold on to the dollars as collateral and that after elections, the bank could use the dollars to replace the bank funds.”
The source stated that Diezani did not operate any account with the bank and wondered why Okonkwo would allow himself to be used in such a manner.
Fidelity Bank’s spokesperson, Ejike Ndiulo is yet to make any statement on the issue but it was gathered that the bank may issue a release later to today.