The Federal High Court in Lagos has sentenced a former Administrative Secretary with Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Christian Nwosu, and his colleague, Mr Tijani Bashir, to seven years’ imprisonment for laundering a sum of N264.8m in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
Justice Mohammed Idris handed down the sentence on Friday following his Thursday judgment convicting the two INEC officials.
The judge had in his judgment affirmed the allegation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that Nwosu and Bashir benefited from a sum of $115.01m which a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, doled out to influence the 2015 elections.
While Nwosu was convicted of collecting N30m of the Diezani’s cash and laundering same, Bashir was said to have taken possession of N164,880,000 of the funds, which he handled in violation of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
Nwosu and Bashir were charged alongside their colleague, Yisa Adedoyin, who admitted the offence and entered into a plea bargain with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Nwosu too had earlier entered into a plea bargain with the EFCC and returned N5m cash as well as a landed property worth N25m.
He, however, changed his mind after he was told by the judge that despite making the refund, he would pay a fine of N10m and still serve a prison term.
In the course of the trial, Nwosu admitted going to Fidelity Bank to sign for and collect N264.8m, adding that he got N30m out of the funds for election “logistics.”
In his judgment on Thursday, Justice Idris held that the EFCC proved beyond reasonable doubts the charges of conspiracy and money laundering against Nwosu and Bashir.