The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken into custody two former Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali, and ex-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nurudeen Mohammed. Both Wali and Mohammed served under former President Goodluck Jonathan. Wali allegedly received N950 million while Mohammed was alleged to have collected N500 million out of the money said to have been allegedly budgeted for the 2015 general elections by Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Also taken into custody, according to informed sources, is a former official of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) in Kano State, one Sani Isa, who was alleged to have received N406,206,000, on behalf of the late Resident Electoral Commission (REC) in Kano State, Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi.
The source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC, in continuation of its investigations into the N23 billion laundered by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke during the 2015 general elections through Fidelity Bank Plc., has so far unravelled how a total of N5,097,064,000 was disbursed and received by representatives from seven states in the North-West zone of the country.
“Preliminary investigation into the matter has shown that a total of N1, 356,620,000 was received by two beneficiaries from Kano State of which a total of N950,000,000 was received by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the last dispensation, Ambassador Aminu Bashir Wali while the balance of N406,206,000 was received on behalf of the late Kano State Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Mukaila Abdullahi by one Sani Isa who is retiree of INEC, Kano State. “They all, according to investigations, collected these monies from Fidelity Bank Plc. after due certification of various means of identification as requested by the bank.
“Also, one of the representatives from Jigawa State who was the former Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Dr Nurudeen Muhammad, received a total of N500 million out of N750 million disbursed to Jigawa State. “The representatives from Kano and Jigawa states, including the former staff of INEC, have been taken into custody and investigations are still on-going as to who the balance of N250 million was given to.” The source stated that other states in the North- West zone were believed to have benefited through their representatives from the N1 billion campaign funds.
Also, operatives of the EFCC have arrested the Cross River State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ntufam John Okon, New Telegraph has gathered. Highly placed sources at the EFCC said Okon was arrested in connection with the $115 million said to have been lodged in Fidelity Bank Plc., by Alison- Madueke.
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, has, since, been arrested by operatives of the anti-graft agency. One of the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with New Telegraph, said the PDP chairman is alleged to have received N500 million, being his own share of the $115 million. The commission suspects that the lodged amount was allegedly meant to compromise some officials of INEC. Okon was arrested yesterday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital. According to the source, “Investigations by the EFCC showed that Okon collected the money on March 26, 2015 at a branch of Fidelity Bank in Calabar.
“The money was placed in the transit account at the Corporate Headquarters of Fidelity Bank, but cash was made available to Okon in the Calabar branch of the bank.
“Okon is in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court soon,” the source said. Meanwhile, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has denied newspaper reports that he had gone underground in a bid to evade arrest by the EFCC. Fani-Kayode, who was director, media and publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation in 2015, was said to have received N840 million for the campaign project.
Some members of the party, including former Imo State governor, Chief Achike Udenwa; former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Esther Nenadi Usman and ex-Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Viola Onwilari have been invited and questioned by the anti-corruption agency in relation to some sums of the campaign funds linked to them.
A national newspaper (not New Telegraph) quoted an un-named EFCC source to have said that the former Minister of Aviation have gone into hiding. But in a statement yesterday, Fani-Kayode said he is yet to receive any invitation of any sort from the EFCC. “I have not been invited by the EFCC by letter and neither have they phoned me or attempted to reach me in any other way. I have been in my Abuja home for the last few weeks and I am not hiding from anyone,” he said.
He described the report as an attempt to further demonise and humiliate him by the EFCC, and challenged the anti-graft agency to either write or call him if it has any questions for him to answer.
“I have made my position clear on the issue of the presidential campaign funds. I have written an essay about it in my various columns about two weeks ago and I have been waiting for the EFCC to reach me ever since then. “They have invited others, but they have not invited me. I do not believe that I have done anything wrong and this latest attempt to criminalise me and make me look like a fugitive from justice will fail,” Fani-Kayode added.
According to him, other people invited by the EFCC over this same campaign funds issue were sent letters of invitation and were reached, noting that he appeared to be the only exception. The former minister noted that the “hideous lies are being fed to the newspapers to make it look as if I am in hiding or that I am running from them just to sensationalise the whole issue. “This is also to justify what the EFCC wish to do which is to arrest me in public, humiliate me or to storm my home and lock me up indefinitely.
There is no need for all that drama and if it happens that way the Nigerian people will know why. “I have no fear of the EFCC, I will respond to their invitation any day and anytime they send it to me and I will help them to clarify whatever issues they wish to raise in any way that I can. “Others were invited in a civilised way and were treated in a humane and decent manner.
I really do wonder why I should be treated differently, criminalised in the newspapers in this way and not even afforded the common courtesy of a formal invitation by them. “I await their letter or their call.”