Nigeria: Former water resources minister sentenced to six years for money laundering

A federal high court in Jos, Plateau state capital, has sentenced Sarah Ochekpe, the former minister of water resources, to six years imprisonment.

Ochekpe was a minister in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

She was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2018 for allegedly collecting N450 million from Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum resources minister, in 2015.

Raymond Dabo, former acting PDP chairman in Plateau, and Leo Jatau, coordinator of the Goodluck Johnathan campaign in the state, are the two other accused persons.

The accused persons were tried on charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

They were alleged to have received N450million from Alison-Madueke to influence the electorate and the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

According to the EFCC, investigations showed that after receiving the money, the headquarters of Fidelity Bank Plc used its state branches to distribute the election loot to different individuals.

In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, Musa Kurna, the presiding judge, found the accused persons guilty.

In a statement issued after the judgment, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesman, said: “The defendants were convicted on count one,  bordering on conspiracy to accept cash payment above threshold under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012 (as amended) and sentence to three (3) years imprisonment with an option of N2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira) fine each.

“On count two, the defendants were convicted and sentenced to three (3) years imprisonment with an option of N2, 000,000 (Two Million Naira) fine each.
The sentences are to run consecutively.

“The Court discharged and acquitted them on count three which borders on retention of funds.”

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