Money Laundering: EFCC Arraigns Former Minister, Governorship Contestant

Former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Suleiman
Former Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned the immediate past Minister of National Planning, Abubakar Sulaiman, before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos on a 5-count charge of money laundering and fraud.

The former Minister was arraigned alongside Dele Belgore, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 general election.

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Both accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them in court on Wednesday, following which their lawyers made a request for bail.

They were subsequently granted bail on self-recognition, but the trial judge ordered that they should deposit their passports with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

Justice Aikawa then adjourned the case till Feb 23, 2017 for trial.

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In the charge sheet which was obtained by journalists, Aikawa and Belgore were accused of conspiring to directly take possession of N450 million which they reasonably ought to have known was part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.

They are also charged with being in possession of the sum and making a cash payment of N50 million to one Sheriff Shagaya without going through a financial institution.

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The crimes, according to the EFCC are contrary to and punishable under certain sections of the Money Laundering Prohibition Amendment Act, 2012.