NNPC, First Bank react to seizure of $153.3 million ‘Diezani money’

Nigeria's Former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke
Nigeria's Former Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Saturday said it would study the court ruling ordering a temporary forfeiture of $153.3 million purportedly belonging to former Nigerian petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, before taking a decision.

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, ordered a seizure of the money which was stolen from the NNPC, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and stashed in three Nigerian banks, in US Dollars and Naira.

“It was a court ruling, and we have not studied the proceedings; when we do that we’ll know our response,” Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC’s spokesperson, told PREMIUM TIMES.

According to the EFCC, out of the $153.3 million, N23.4 billion was kept in Sterling Bank Plc, N9.08 billion in First Bank Plc, and $5 million in Access Bank Plc.

In his ruling on Friday, Mr. Hassan gave Sterling Bank and any other interested parties 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failure of which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Nigerian government.

The judge made the order in favour of the EFCC which appeared before him with an ex parte application seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

According to the Commission, in December 2014, Mrs. Alison-Madueke invited the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office where they hatched the plan to move $153,310,000 out of the NNPC for the minister.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke, according to Mr. Awolusi, instructed Mr. Okonkwo to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.

Mr. Okonkwo accepted and implemented the deal leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from NNPC to Fidelity Bank.

He said that two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account of NNPC, B.O.N. Otti and Stanley Lawson, helped Mrs. Alison-Madueke to move the cash from NNPC, Abuja, to the headquarters of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.

In 2012, Mr. Otti, alongside Steve Oronsaye, hugged headlines for attempting to discredit the report of the Nuhu Ribadu-led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force which exposed the monumental corruption in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

While he was serving as a member of the task force, Mr. Otti was appointed into the board of the NNPC by Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

Mr. Awolusi said in a desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, Mr. Okonkwo, upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of Fidelity Bank, Martin Izuogbe, to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.

The sum of $5 million was kept with the Managing Director Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe.

He said the remaining $40 million was taken in cash to the Executive Director, Public Sector Accountant, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, to keep.

Phone calls to the spokespersons of Sterling Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc did not go through.

But Babatunde Lasaki, the Spokesperson of First Bank Plc, said the bank was not directly involved in the transaction.

“We’ve said this thing before now that the transaction regarding Diezani and Mr. (Dauda) Lawal was in his personal capacity, and the money was not a First Bank transaction,” Mr. Lasaki told PREMIUM TIMES.

“We said that and we still maintain that.”

The EFCC arrested Mr. Lawal, Executive Director, Public Sector at First Bank, in May last year for allegedly helping Mrs. Alison-Madueke to launder $25 million.

Mr. Lawal had denied the allegations against him, maintaining that his relationship with the former minister was purely a professional one.

“This allegation is malicious and without substance in any material particular.”


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  • dami

    These banks need to fold fast…ah ahn First bank…truly the first!!!….$153million in cash…meanwhile they will be chasing someone that took a car loan with hired assassins if he defaults on his payment…also I’m wondering why the NNPC wants to study the ruling..after all they will be $153m dollars richer if the banks cannot give a good reason no to forfeit the cash…Diezani should also come and face her accusers…now we know that her London case was / is to give her time to stay away from prosecution in Nigeria till maybe Buhari is out of power – it wont work!!

    • Donatelle

      There is no indication that she intended to keep the money for personal use.
      She only held it in trust for the country just like Abacha did.
      There is a difference between holding money in trust and outright stealing money.

      • Peaceometer

        ..thor, we are collecting our money back.

      • Sanssouci

        LOL You are too much

      • CeeCee1818

        I’m sure the country is grateful, now it wants it back, and all those countries “holding ” Africa ‘s trillions, time to cough up!

      • dami

        Dude…you’re killing me with laughter….In fact I can’t stop laughing.

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  • Bunduma Mohammed

    Those involve should be declared unfit to be Management of Bank in Nigeria

  • Icomiare

    When politicians steal money, their bankers go unpunished. I think it is high time we began to make these ”Anininized” bankers pay for their sins. I recommend life jail term plus full asset forfeiture for anybody that steals public fund until then we are yet to fight corruption.

    • Omoba1

      That is Nigeria for you. In responsible countries both the regulator, CBN and the affected Banks will be sanctioned.

      Nigeria is a padi padi country. If you make too much noise, you get yourself worked up

  • Peaceometer

    Another knock out Sai Bhuari

  • CeeCee1818

    “Money belonging to….”, wrong, the money belongs to the people of Nigeria. What you steal does not belong to you.

  • mixola

    Is it possible for NNPC to be holding so much cash in raw form? Does NNPC have cash vault operations? I take this story with a grain of salt.

    • GusO

      Why not? All sorts of things happen in Nigeria with regard to illegal cash. They may have a secret cash vault at the NNPC. It is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

      • mixola

        $153,310,000 from NNPC to Fidelity Bank without the knowledge of CBN? This is gross lawlessness!

        • tuby NY

          This amount is a peanut (not even 1%) compared to what was moved and stolen under GEJ bro — lots of individuals are LAYING LOW and sitting on stolen millions and billions of dollars presently in this country. You don’t seems to have any ideal or understand HOW MUCH Nigeria made from crude oil (@ over $120 average per barrel for 4/5yrs straight at full and peaceful production) weekly/monthly under this “inept and a waste and mistake of a president” GEJ and what was stolen DO U?

          But lots of elites/politicians USED him (GEJ) and stole endlessly without his knowledge.. cause he’s THAT too “WEAK, SLOW and with NO BACKBONE” to do or say much bout IT; he didn’t EVEN KNOW half of what was happening then. His illiterate wife (Patience) seems more “gusty and smarter” than him self. I DO feel 4him sometimes tho — the man is better OFF as a high-school teacher/Principal somewhere than BEEN a Governor talk less of a president yo..

    • Kallah Bature

      Continue with your misplaced skepticism and day dreaming,Nigeria has moved on.Sai Baba!!!!

    • Dodondawa

      In your country, the unthinkable happens very often. it’s no big deal and as a matter of fact, anything goes

    • Izon Redeemer

      Who went after Rilwan Lukman and Jubril Aminu both of whom owned oil blocks like balls of akara@ But are the people from the old regions of Nigeria not doing all to seize oil block of another former oil Minister Etete——————-soon after they the Tripod sent David West to Jail and seized gthe only bank owned b-y Ijaws——————–All States Bank-

  • Izon Redeemer

    Premium Times will soon join drug addicts like Magu in the departure hall of their sins against the Nation State of Nigeria—————Aware the Ijaws would outlive the Satanic move being made by Bingo Buhari to rope Deizani——into his dirty smear campaign against the poor woman———–Yesterday it was David West the Fulanis sent to prison–then the Yorubas via Obj forced late Alams into jail–and then killed him———Not before seizing All States Bank—————-owned by another Ijaw man Chief Banigo

    • Sir Demo

      This thing again?

    • Arogbo

      Are you trying to imply that the money was not stolen? Or are you now saying because “na our oyel money she fit steal am”. Haba, give me a break!

  • A Aminu

    The statement that the NNPC will study the interim court order on the seizure of the stolen money is a very dangerous statement. Is the NNPC saying the money is not stolen from them? If that is what they are implying,then the money should be returned to the owner that is the former minister of petroleum. It is sad a government parastatal of the caliber of NNPC to make such a statement.

    • Peter_Edo

      Accepting fully that the money was stolen from them would make them look weaker. This is grandstanding and posturing a ti playing ostrich jsut to look like they are serious small…

    • Arogbo

      You’re absolutely right my bro.

  • Sir Demo

    All the bank officials must be jailed and the banks heavily fined! Otherwise once Buhari left office,Mir will be back to business as usual.

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  • A Aminu

    The likes of this liar called Babatunde Lasaki should be hounded in jail for taking Nigerians as fools. For the spokesman to say that the bank was not directly involved in the transactions of the Executive director. Was he not serially promoted by the bank for bringing large transactions of stolen money to the bank to the envy of others. Is he not still in the employment of the bank? He answer if Babatunde Lasakin does not know is affirmative yes. He is still in the employment of FBN and had at one time or another earned a position of Executive Vice President in FBN, a position not known in FBN.
    If this outright grand theft is proved and prosecution obtained against this thief, the bank should be scrapped from the Nigerian market as was done to BCCI in the 90s in UK, which included its subsidiary in Nigeria.

  • Rommel

    I think the charge sheet for such crimes should be amended to include stealing, treason, aiding and conspiracy to commit subversive acts against the Nigerian people, such wickedness from these highly placed individuals cannot be dismissed as money laundry issues,this is the reason why it persists,the least punishment for such crimes should be 50yrs in jail without possibility of parole or pardon.

    • kinsly

      I will go to war blindfolded to support you on these issue. I hail you!

    • Arogbo

      The punishment for this kind of huge financial fraud should be death by hanging.

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  • obiora

    This case is still on but the court has already rush to cash. That is Nigeria every thing is on Money. How is the court inviting the banks to come and explain while it has already seize the Money.

    • gboyegaa

      If you believe there is anything illegal in the action of the judge, you can get yourself a lawyer and join the banks to prove to the whole world why the money should not be forfeited.
      It is as simply as that in a democracy. Tribal sentiments, hate, rage and annoyance for this government for booting out Jonathan will not help the situation.
      If fact, all that are connected with this fraud should be prosecuted and if convicted should rot in jail for there actions. They are indirectly murderers.

  • Okokondem

    The problem I have with Nigeria and
    the endless string of accusations and counter accusations is who to believe, who is credible and who is not. The reason being that almost everyone has some vested interest, an ulterior motive that informs their position, such as either religion, tribal or regional sentiments.

    However, if there is irrefutable evidence that this lady colluded with these individuals to defraud their country, our country, in spite of the obvious need for that large sum of money to help develop the country, then they should pay a price for it.

    And let me add this, if you are an Igbo and feel a sense of responsibility to instantly jump to the defense of this lady simply because of her Igbo root or affiliation without thoroughly assessing the validity or lack thereof of these allegations, you are doing a disservice to your people, of which I am one.