The chief executive officer and Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, is reportedly pleading with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take it easy on him over a 14-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering before a federal high court judge.
A source who pleaded anonymity said, the Fidelity Bank head is said to be lobbying a high rank official at the Presidency to assist in intervening and settle out of court. According to reports, EFCC rejected the plea explaining that the bank chief must be jailed if found guilty.
The EFCC had arrested Okonkwo and some of the bank officials for reportedly receiving $115m from a former minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The anti-graft agency also arrested the bank’s head of Operations, Mr. Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented.
The bank officials were arrested, charged to court and granted administrative bail.
According to reports, in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, Diezani invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups.
However, the fraud was exposed when the EFCC started investigations into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom States received N675.1m.
It was alleged that the first company, Auctus Integrated, deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m while the MD himself received $26m in cash.
Diezani’s son, Ugonna Madueke, later served as a middleman between the former minister and the MD of the bank.
The bank officials were initially arrested, charged to court and granted administrative bail, pending determination by a court of competent jurisdiction.