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Diezani Alison-Madueke Fidelity Bank, INEC officials return N408.7M out of money collected from ex-minister

Fidelity Bank, through which the funds were transferred, has refunded N49.7 million while some INEC officials refunded N359 million.

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Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke addresses delegates at the opening of the Nigeira Oil & Gas 2014 conference in a file photo play Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Alison-Madueke addresses delegates at the opening of the Nigeira Oil & Gas 2014 conference in a file photo (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered N408.7 million out of $115 million allegedly used by former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke to bribe officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prior to the 2015 elections.

Fidelity Bank, through which the funds were transferred, has refunded N49.7 million while some INEC officials refunded N359 million, The Nation reports.

“Our investigation into the N23.29billion bribe has reached a critical stage. Six teams are working round the clock in all the geopolitical zones. The top officials of Fidelity Bank in custody have made statements, including the list of all beneficiaries and bank details of payments made to them,” an EFCC source said.

“While scrutinizing their records, we discovered that Fidelity Bank made a profit of N49.7million from the disbursement transactions made in all its branches nationwide. The management of the bank on Thursday refunded the profit while we are continuing investigation on other funds.

“Some former and serving INEC officials in Oyo and Ogun have paid back N359million to EFCC. What happened was that while N802m was voted for bribery of INEC officials and NGOs in Oyo State to change presidential poll results, about N629m was dished out in Ogun State.

“But some of these beneficiaries in Oyo and Ogun were suspicious of the sources of the funds. They cooperated and went to the designated Fidelity Bank branches and collected the cash. Instead of spending it, they sought the service of lawyers who advised them to open accounts to keep the cash in case there are issues in the future.

“When this matter came up, the lawyers assisted in locating the funds and the N359million was refunded. We are working on other beneficiaries to recover the slush funds,” he added.

The EFCC has also launched a manhunt for Alison-Madueke’s son, Ugonna in connection with the investigation.

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