Diezani alongside five other persons had been charged for conspiring to conceal $153 million in Fidelity Bank.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cleared the air on controversies surrounding graft charges against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and five others.

Pulse had reported that the anti-graft agency dropped and amended the charges against Diezani and her accomplices who were mentioned in an illegal transaction valued at $153 million.

It was gathered that the EFCC dropped all 14 count charges against Diezani, Ben Otti, Nnamdi Okonkwo, Stanley Lawson, Lanre Adesanya, and Dauda Lawal, all of whom are former officials of commercial banks and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

A source who's familiar with the $153 million transaction, said Dauda Lawal, who's a former Executive Director of First Bank, had stated it is pathetic that Dauda, who had no contact with Diezani and was only acting on the instruction of a customer can be charged for conspiracy, while those who were alleged to be directly linked to the funds have been exonerated. [Sahara Reporters]
A source who's familiar with the $153 million transaction, said Dauda Lawal, who's a former Executive Director of First Bank, had stated it is pathetic that Dauda, who had no contact with Diezani and was only acting on the instruction of a customer can be charged for conspiracy, while those who were alleged to be directly linked to the funds have been exonerated. [Sahara Reporters]

In a statement made available to the press to clear the storm following the alleged dropping of the charges, the EFCC's spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, maintained that at no time did the anti-graft agency withdraw the charges still before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

The EFCC, however, admitted that it was true that there was a development on the matter, noting that its legal team took a prosecutorial decision to split the initial 14-count charge to enable separate arraignment of the defendants.

According to EFCC, its decision to split the initial charge is as a result of the spate of adjournments that have since been preventing the arraignment of the defendants for over a year that the case has been filed.

Uwujaren said, "The charges were first filed on November 28, 2018. Since then, every attempt to arraign the defendants had been frustrated by one excuse or the other.

"In more than four times that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either that Lanre Adesanya was sick and bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission in a hospital or Stanley Lawson had had a domestic accident and could not appear in court.

"It was clear that these recurring excuses were ploys to frustrate the arraignment. To get around this, the Commission took a deliberate decision, which was disclosed in open court, to separately prosecute the defendants in different courts."

EFCC stated that the decision highlights why the four count amended charge brought against Dauda, a former Executive Director of First Bank, did not include other defendants, except Diezani and Otti who are at large.

"The non-inclusion of other defendants in the original charge in the amended four count charge does not mean that they have been exonerated by the Commission of any criminal allegation," the agency noted.

In the charge against the former First Bank director, his only alleged offence pertains to Dauda's involvement in the alleged crime which is the receipt of $25 million from the $153 million the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly secured to fund its presidential candidate, former President Goodluck Jonathan.