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Yar'Adua's secretary ready to quit if...

Source: Thisdayonline.com


Principal Secretary to President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, Mr David Edevbie, will quit government and head for London to defend himself if indicted in the Vmobile shares sale saga, his associates told THISDAY last night.

There had been reports that he had been declared wanted by the Metropolitan Police in London in connection with the saga, alongside former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, and other associates.

An officer of the Met Police had told THISDAY on phone that Edevbie, who was Commissioner for Finance in Ibori's government between 1999 and 2005, has not been declared wanted.

But the newspaper learnt that because his name is on the charge sheet, Edevbie has instructed his lawyers to write to the Met Police to find out if he was listed as a suspect, a witness or a "person of interest".

"Even though your (THISDAY) report said the Met Police have confirmed that David (Edevbie) had not been declared wanted, the fact that his name is on the charge sheet is enough for him to go and clear himself," an associate of the former investment banker said.

THISDAY was informed that Edevbie does not want the President's rule of law policy to be derided because of him, as it was not a do-or-die matter for him to be in government.

"As soon as the Met Police reply his lawyers, Edevbie is ready to quit government if indicted. He will take the next available plane to London. He is going to defend his integrity. He has nothing to hide," the source added. "But he has to first ascertain his actual status - if he's a suspect or a witness since he has not been declared wanted by the police nor has he been invited or questioned."

There had been reports in some Nigerian newspapers claiming that an arrest warrant had been issued in London against Edevbie and that the order also has the names of Ibori, Henry Imasekha, Ibori's business partner, and Bhadresh Gohil, Ibori's London attorney who was said to have been arrested in London.

According to the reports, the arrest warrant was in connection with $38 million Vmobile shares sale to Celtel.

But reacting to the development, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr. Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) quickly issued a statement clearing the former Delta State governor over the sale of the state's shares to Vmobile around 2007 yesterday.

Also cleared by the anti-graft agency in respect of the same deal, according to Aondoakaa, are former Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu and his former Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Obong Victor Attah.
But the EFCC has since denied Aondoakaa's claim, maintaining that the case was still under investigation.