The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen the bank account of a company belonging to a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, The PUNCH has learnt.
It was gathered that the account with the United Bank for Africa titled Marecco Nigeria Limited with number 1000627022, was frozen as part of investigations into the N4bn disbursed by the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
This is just as the EFCC detained a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, on Monday for receiving N840m from the campaign funds. The ex-minister, who arrived at the EFCC headquarters at 9.45am was still being quizzed as of 8.40pm. Both Falae and Fani-Kayode were accused of receiving N940m from the Director of Finance of the campaign organisation, Senator Nenadi Usman, during the build-up to the election.
The money was said to have emanated from the account of the National Security Adviser which is domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria. While Falae, who was the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, collected N100m on behalf of his party, Fani-Kayode received N840m as the spokesman for the campaign organisation.
A former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, who played an advisory role in the PDP presidential campaign, was said to have given instructions that N100m should be paid to Falae. However, both Fani-Kayode and Falae have said they never knew that the money received was government’s. Falae had said, “It is true that N100m was given to my party to endorse and work for Jonathan candidacy in the 2015 presidential election. We used the money for that purpose and we effectively campaigned for the PDP since we did not have a presidential candidate in the election. The money was not for me. “Thank God, I’m a retired civil servant. I have all the documents to prove all that transpired between the two parties. With all the money the PDP has and having spent 16 years in power, how would I have known that the money was from the arms deal? No reference was made to the arms deal. So, they should not bring me into the arms issue.”
Fani-Kayode had also told our correspondent that the PDP leadership gave him the impression that the money was sourced from private individuals. He said, “I served as the director of publicity of the Jonathan campaign organisation and I was told to set up an account for the directorate, which I did. I never received money from the CBN but like all the other directors, we received money from the director of finance.
“I was assured that the funds were not public funds but were sourced from private individuals. I never knowingly spent government money all through. The money was spent specifically on the campaigns. The accounts were audited and we were commended by the President.” Meanwhile, the EFCC has detained Fani-Kayode as investigation continues.
Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent that the sole aim of the investigation was to recover the funds. Usman, who served as the director of finance of the campaign organisation, had returned some funds to the Federal Government and also forfeited two properties in Abuja. A reliable source at the EFCC said, “Nenadi Usman cooperated with us and returned funds. Fani-Kayode must also do the same. We need our money back.”
Others who received parts of the N4bn include: The Goodluck Support Group headed by Prof. Rufai Alkali (N320m) while N340m was jointly received by a former Governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa; and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri.