Court Sentences Ex-Minister, Sarah Ochekpe, Ex-PDP Chief To Six Years Imprisonment


A Federal High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, has on Tuesday sentenced a former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe; a deputy director for Goodluck/Sambo 2015 election campaign, Evan Sunday Jitong; and former acting Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Plateau State, Raymond Dabo to six years imprisonment.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Gombe Zonal Command, in a statement issued yesterday said their convictions were secured on Tuesday, February 22.

The trio was convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment each by Justice H. M. Kurya of the Federal High Court, Jos, Plateau State, on an amended three-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

The anti-graft agency said they were alleged to have received the sum of N450 million from Fidelity Bank Plc through cash and wire transfer by some oil companies and former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election.

EFCC said the investigation had shown that on 26th March 2015, the sum of N450 million was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), by Fidelity Bank Plc, Jos main branch, and it was handed over to the defendants in cash after they signed for collection.

The agency said although the defendants claimed that they handed over the money to late Senator Gyang Pwajok, the Plateau State PDP Governorship candidate in 2015, they, however, failed to provide any evidence to support the claim.

The defendants were, therefore, convicted on count one, bordering on conspiracy to accept cash payment above threshold under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012 (as amended) and sentenced to three years imprisonment with an option of N2 million fine each.

On count two, the defendants were convicted and sentenced to three years imprisonment with an option of N2 million fine each.

The sentences of the trio are to run concurrently.

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