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Diezani’s $153.3m scandal: EFCC implicates top Director of FirstBank



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By Odunewu Segun

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday named a top Executive Director with FirstBank Plc, Dauda Lawal as an accomplice in the $153.3 million money laundering scandal involving former minister of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and some top banks executives.

Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, while responding to a counter affidavit by the bank Executive Director, told Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos how Dauda Lawal laundered N9.08 billion on behalf of the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan had on January 6 ordered temporary forfeiture of the said fund, following an exparte application by the EFCC. Lawal had filed an application seeking the discharge of the forfeiture order of the N9.08 billion.

The anti-graft agency had initiated the exparte application seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of the sum, which it claims is linked to Diezani, to the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, EFCC’s counsel informed the court that in line with its interim orders of January 6, EFCC had served same on Lawal.

In response, counsel to Lawal, Mr. Charles Adeogun confirmed the position but added that he had filed a counter affidavit deposed to by his client, challenging the said forfeiture orders.

He said the applicant’s reply affidavit shows a conspiracy by some NNPC staff and the respondent to launder funds.

“My lord, paragraph 4 of our reply affidavit shows a meeting of the minds of one Gbenga Komolafe, former group MD, crude oil marketing division of NNPC, Prince Haruna Momoh, former group MD Petroleum Product Marketing company, Umar Farouk Ahmed, group MD Nigerian Product marketing company as well as Dauda Lawal, to launder funds on behalf of former petroleum minister, Diezani Allison Madueke,” Oyedepo added.

After listening to the submission of counsels, Justice Hassan fixed February 16 for judgment.