By Adebola Owolola
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, told Justice Rilwan Aikwa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how Muhammed Belgore, a governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2011 Kwara State gubernatorial election, disbursed a sum of N126,500,000 (One Hundred and Twenty- six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to some members of the Kwara Senatorial Districts in cash out of the alleged N450, 000, 000 paid by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.
At the resumed hearing today, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked Belgore if he recalled that he had stated, in his evidence, that he saw the money (N450,000,000.00) at the bank, signed the receipt and instructed the bank to safe-keep it for him.
Oyedepo further asked Belgore if he recalled that he also stated in his evidence that he called a stakeholders’ meeting upon receipt of the money.
In his response, Belgore said: “Yes, I called a stakeholders’ meeting. It was at the meeting we discussed the disbursement of the money and agreed that each Senatorial district should nominate two people each, who would collect money for their district.”
When the prosecution counsel asked Belgore, under cross-examination, if he gave any written instructions to disburse the money the bank was keeping on his behalf, he said: “It is true I did not have any written instructions for the disbursements.”
When asked if he had ever had cause to issue instructions to any bank where he is not a customer, Belgore said: “I have not issued any instructions to a bank, where I am not a customer.”
Consequently, Oyedepo put it to Belgore that he disbursed the sum of over N126, 500,000(One Hundred and Twenty-six Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira) to various beneficiaries out of the N450, 000, 000.00 as agreed in the stakeholders meeting, adding that “ Mr. Zikrullah Balogun, your Personal Assistant, made several disbursements on your instructions and received in cash N80,000,000 (Eighty Million Naira); Mr. Sheriff Shagaya received N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira); Mr. Isa Beau received in cash N 61,656,000(Sixty One Million, Six Hundred and Fifty- six Thousand Naira); Mrs. Shola Adeoti received in cash N102,298,000(One Hundred and Two Million, Two Hundred and Ninet- eight Thousand Naira); Mr Iyola Oyedepo received in cash N9,574, 000(Nine Million, Five Hundred and Seventy- four Thousand Naira) and Senator Sulaiman Ajadi received in cash the sum of N19,689,000( Nineteen Million, Six Hundred and Eighty- nine Thousand Naira).”
Belgore told the court that the stakeholders gave him instructions, which he passed to his Personal Assistant, Balogun, to carry out.
“Yes, I was informed that they all received the money and it was paid in cash,” he further stated.
Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to June 17, 2019 for continuation of cross-examination.