A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Dele Belgore, on Thursday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that he did not personally share the N450million he signed for in 2015.
Belgore, who was People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign coordinator in Kwara State during the 2015 general elections, said the money was for party men and agents and not for his personal benefit.
According to him, although he signed for the money at the bank, he did not take it away.
Belgore was testifying in his defence before Justice Rilwan Aikawa in a money laundering charge brought against him and former National Planning Minister Prof Abubakar Suleiman by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Former Petroleum Resources Minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is also named in the charge. EFCC said she is “at large”.
The prosecution said they “directly took possession of the sum N450million,” adding that they “reasonably ought to have known [that the money] forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act.”
Led in evidence by his lawyer Ebun Shofunde (SAN), Belgore said as coordinator, it was his responsibility to ensure that the money was sent to PDP candidates, party leaders and stakeholders at ward levels.
“The money was not meant for me. As a matter of fact, there was never any intention for me to collect the money personally,” he said.
Belgore had earlier testified that he went to the bank to sign for the money along with Suleman but never took it away as his car could not contain it.
Asked if he went back to get the money with a bigger car, he said: “I did not take any steps regarding collection of the money from the bank, because as I have said, the money was meant for stakeholders. They were the ones who took steps to collect it.
“My position has always been that I never took possession of the money, either in cash, cheque, bank transfer or any other means. That remains my position till date.”
Belgore said he told the EFCC operative who interviewed him, Usman Zakari, that he never took the money from the bank.
“Zakari showed me a copy of a document (acknowledging receipt) and asked me to confirm whether it was my signature on it.
“I did confirm that it was my signature. I told him that I didn’t have the money and never had it.
“He said as far as he was concerned, it was my name that was on Exhibit 1A and that I confirmed that I signed it, and therefore I was the one to pay back the money.
“Again I responded that the money was not meant for me, I never took it, but it was taken by stakeholders – candidates, party officials, agents, etc for the purpose of the 2015 election.”
Belgore said he told EFCC in one of his several statements that “we left the money in the bank for safekeeping”.
Justice Aikawa adjourned until March 5 when a video of what transpired when Belgore visited the bank will be viewed in court
He admitted the flash drives containing the clips in evidence.
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