Mr. Dele Belgore (SAN) has informed the court his intention to file a no case submission in the ongoing money laundering suit preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

His lawyer, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN), made this known after he was re-arraigned, alongside Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, a former Minister of National Planning, on an amended 9 count charge.

The two were first arraigned on five counts on February 8, 2017, before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Shortly after the duo was re-arraigned, the counsel for EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the anti-graft agency would be closing its case after calling two witnesses and tendering a number of exhibits. 

Mr. Oyedepo said the anti-graft agency believed it had already established its allegations against Belgore and his co-defendant.

In response to the closure of the EFCC's case, the defense counsel, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), said that they would be filing no-case submissions on behalf of their clients.

The trial judge, Justice Rilwan Aikawa, adjourned till January 16, 2018, to hear the defendants out.

In the amended charge, the EFCC alleged that Belgore and Sulaiman laundered a sum of N450m.

It claimed that they received the N450 from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, on March 27, 2015, to allegedly compromise the 2015 general elections.

The anti-graft agency claimed that Sulaiman, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Abuja, and Belgore, a former governorship aspirant in Kwara State, ought to have known that the money constituted proceeds of unlawful activities.

It added that they handled the N450m in cash without going through a financial institution.

The EFCC claimed that the defendants paid N10m cash each to a Commissioner of Police, Garba Saliu, and a Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Emmanuel Onuche.

They were also accused of paying N50m cash to one Sheriff Shagaya; N61,656,000 cash to one Isa Biu and N87,962,000 to the duo of Sola Adeoti and Hajiya Farida Dankaka.

The EFCC said the cash payments were above the threshold stipulated by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

It said having handled the large cash sums without going through any financial institutions, Belgore and Sulaiman acted sections 1(a), 16(d), 15(2)(d) and18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The prosecution said they are liable to be punished under sections 15(3)(4), and 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Muhammad Dele Belgore

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