From Richard Adejare
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, is said to be pleading with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to get a soft-landing over a 14-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering before a federal high court judge.
The Fidelity Bank boss is said to be lobbying a top official at the Presidency to intervene and ensure an out of court settlement,
but sources privy to the moves told our reporter that the anti-graft agency rejected the plea stressing that the bank chief must be jailed if found culpable.
The anti-graft agency had arrested Okonkwo and some officials of the bank for allegedly receiving $115m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC also arrested the bank’s head of Operations, Mr. Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented.
According to reports, in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, Diezani invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups.
However, the fraud was uncovered when the EFCC began investigations into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom States received N675.1m.
It was alleged that the first company, Auctus Integrated, deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m while the MD himself received $26m in cash.
Diezani’s son, Ugonna Madueke, later served as a middleman between the former minister and the MD of the bank.
News Hub Mag! gathered that the bank officials were arrested, charged to court and granted administrative bail.