An Executive Director of First Bank Plc, Dauda Lawal, has told a Federal High Court in Lagos that the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) forced him to admit receiving the sum of $65 million from the former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Allison Madueke.
Lawal, who is contesting the court order forfeiting his N9.08billion to the Federal Government, said that he only got the sum of $25million from the embattled ex-minister.
When the case came up for hearing on Tuesday, the EFCC told the court that Lawal laundered funds on behalf of Diezani.
The commission’s counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, made the assertion when he responded to a counter affidavit by Lawal.
Lawal wants the court to discharge the interim forfeiture order of the sum of N9.08 billion.
Justice Muslim Hassan had on January 6, 2016 issued an interim order of forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government, following an ex-parte application by EFCC seeking similar relief.
The EFCC had initiated the ex-parte application seeking an interim order for the temporary forfeiture of the money to the government, which it claimed was linked to Diezani.
The court had also gave 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be forfeited to the government.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, Mr. Charles Adeogun, announced appearance for Lawal, who is joined as respondent in the suit.
Oyedepo told the court that in line with its interim order of January 6, the EFCC had served same on Lawal, adding that it was also published in the Independent Newspaper of January 12, in compliance with the directive of the court.
In his response, Adeogun confirmed the position, and explained that he had filed a counter affidavit deposed to by Lawal, challenging the order.
Arguing his application, Adeogun urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the N9.08billion to his client, on the ground that same was obtained by coercion.
He said that before such forfeiture order can be made, two essential elements must be satisfied – that the property in question is unclaimed, and that such property or funds formed proceeds of an unlawful act.
Adeogun said: “We became aware of the forfeiture order when the interim order was served on us; my client was never confronted with these sets of facts during his incarceration by the EFCC.
“After the service of the order, I requested for the statement of my client to the commission, but itwas never given to me,” he said
Adeogun argued that his client admitted receiving the sum of $25 million in clear dispensation of his duties, but was coerced by the commission to further admit receiving a total of $65 million.