N31bn fraud: Anenih, George, Odili, others may refund N630m slush fund
Some former and serving Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House of Representatives may have to refund about N600million allegedly shared to them under the last dispensation for the purpose of seeking re-election.
Several bigwigs of the party who allegedly partook of the slush funds are also expected to return to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) the amount each of them collected.
Such PDP stalwarts include Bode George, Yerima Abdullahi; Peter Odili; Attahiru Bafarawa; Jim Nwobodo; Ahmadu Ali, and Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi who all got (N100m /$30,000) each. Others are Bello Sarkin Yaki (N200m); BAM Properties(N300m); Dalhatu Investment Limited(N1.5billion); Tony Anenih (N260m); and Iyorchia Ayu’s company ( N345m)
Investigation revealed that some former and serving members of the House of Representatives got N380million public funds to campaign for re-election.
The sum was allegedly transferred to Belsha Nigeria Limited’s bank account controlled by Bello Matanwalle for distribution to support some members of the House of Representatives for their re-election campaigns.
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The beneficiary Reps allegedly collected sums ranging between N10million and N50million.
The Nation gathered that the N380million was not only the slush fund made available to the Reps seeking re-election.
Some of them, sources familiar with the disbursement said yesterday, got their share directly from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
In one of the payment mandates, Ref. No: ACCT/87/VOL.3/72 which was sent to the Branch Manager of Zenith Bank, K. City Plaza Branch, Wuse II Abuja, a new member of the House was given N50million through GTB Account 0022471014 while a ranking member smiled home with N150million remitted into UBA account 1007130385.
Yet, another Representative got his share through UBA account 1014721695 for N50million.
The EFCC has already retrieved more payment vouchers involving some members of the House.
It was learnt that the list might soon be out detailing how the affected Representatives.
A top source in the anti-graft agency said: 'As we go into the trial of some accused persons, our ultimate goal is to retrieve looted funds. We will certainly ask most of these beneficiaries to refund the public funds illegally disbursed to them.
'We are eager to collect the funds back in order to channel them into the development of the nation.
'Some of these bigwigs have been making overtures to the EFCC to allow them to make refund instead of being put on trial.
'As President Muhammadu Buhari said, we will publish the list of those who may make refunds.
'A few of them will serve as our witnesses in court against accused persons.
'But we are looking for some of them who were invited but managed to sneak out of the country.
'Whatever the case and wherever they are hiding, we will bring them to justice.'
Meanwhile, fresh facts emerged last night on how some of the PDP leaders benefitted from the slush funds.
A former presidential aide, who was an insider, said: 'Actually, most of the party leaders were always going to the former President Goodluck Jonathan for assistance in preparation for the 2015 poll. The usual refrain of Jonathan was 'leave your account details with my aide’ and after some days, they got alert without cross checking where the money came from.
'The ex-president would thereafter send the bank details and instructions to the former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki to disburse from the security votes and other funds in ONSA.
'I think he might have given verbal instructions in most cases but there is sufficient evidence of a few requests forwarded to the ex-NSA from the Villa.'
Asked why the ONSA was saddled with the responsibility of disbursement of funds, the source said, 'the ONSA used to manage the president’s security votes, operation and maintenance of the Presidential Fleet and other exigencies including special welfare of ex-Presidents/ Heads of State.
'The ex-NSA got involved because Jonathan discovered that each time he directed that funds be disbursed, most beneficiaries were not getting the cash. He had trust in the ex-NSA and decided to saddle him with the responsibility.'
Responding to a question, the source said: 'Some members of the PDP Contact and Mobilization Committee got their share directly from a former National Chairman of the party, Alh. Adamu Muazu at his residence.
'Some of these funds given to Muazu came from the former Minister of State for Finance, Amb. Bashir Yuguda.
'Yuguda also became part of the disbursement because of the trust reposed in him by the former First Family. In fact, Yuguda got his appointment at the behest of the ex-First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
'The former First Lady’s path crossed with Yuguda when the latter was Nigeria’s Ambassador to UAE.
'For always hosting Mrs. Jonathan very well in Dubai, she spotted him as a responsible diplomat and pushed through in making him a Minister. When campaign funds were being mismanaged, the Jonathan opted for Yuguda too because of the 'trust’ he had in him. 'Old friendship and loyalty made Yuguda to be part of this scandal rocking the nation.'
In a Statement of Witness/ Caution which he wrote on oath, Yuguda admitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he gave N600million cash to six chairmen of the Contact and Mobilization Committees of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) for the 2015 general Election.
He listed the beneficiaries as Bode George (South-West); Amb. Yerima Abdullahi (North-East); Peter Odili( South-South); Attahiru Bafarawa (North-West); Jim Nwobodo( South -East); North-Central(Ahmadu Ali).
George, Nwobodo and Odili have denied collecting cash from Yuguda. The former Rivers State Governor said he received N100m from the PDP for purposes of elelction mobilisation in the South-South zones.
Bode George admitted that only $30,000 was given to the South-West Contact and Mobilization Committee.
He also said he instructed Jabbama Limited to transfer N300million to BAM Properties whose account was given to him by a former National Chairman of PDP, Bello Haliru transferred to Jabbama Ada Global Services.
Only ex-Governor Attahiru Bafarawa admitted that he collected N100million from Yuguda through Sagir Attahiru.
The ex-Minister said: 'For the cash disbursement of N600million, it was meant for the six zonal chairmen for Contact and Mobilization Committees for Election of 2015. The chairmen are Bode George (South-West); Amb. Yerima Abdullahi ( North-East); Peter Odili( South-South); Attahiru Bafarawa( North-East); Jim Nwobodo( South -East); North-Central(Ahmadu Ali). The sum of N100million was given to each chairman. I gave the money in company of Prof. Alkali, who was former Political Adviser to former President. The zonal chairmen are for the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP). I also instructed Jabbama Limited to transfer the sum of N100m to Dalhatu Limited on the request of Attahiru Bafarawa.
'I also remember that Bello Sarkin Yaki was among the people that the then NSA instructed that I send the sum of N200million to. He was the PDP gubernatorial candidate in Kebbi State.'
Yuguda, who claimed that he had liaised with Stallion Limited, gave the details of other disbursements.
He added: 'I knew the chairman of Stallion Limited whose second name I cannot remember. Between December 2014 to June 2015, on the instruction of the then NSA, I introduced Jabbama Limited to a staff of the company on the instruction of the chairman.
'When the account was in credit, disbursement was made from time to time on the instruction of the then NSA. Part in foreign exchange or transfers.
'I wish to add that sometime in February 2015, I instructed Jabbama to transfer the sum of N300m to BAM Properties. The account was given to me by Bello Haliru as one of the people the former NSA requested me to give money. I also remember that Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi was sent the sum of N100million on the instruction of the then NSA.
'Further to my statement of 30th November, 2015, I have brought the sum of $829,800(equivalent to N200m) and a N600m was given to me to distribute to the six PDP Zonal Committee chairmen. I don’t know who are the directors of Dalhatu Investment Limited but funds were transferred to the company’s account on the instruction of Dalhatu Bafarawa for the total amount of N1.5billion received from the then NSA by Jabbama Limited.
'I shall endeavour to recover the sum of N600million given to the six zonal PDP committee chairmen, while I appeal to the commission to use their machineries to trace the remaining balance of the money transferred to various accounts.'
The former Minister however denied receiving another N200million credited to him.
'I have been shown transaction of N200million from the Office of the Accountant-General to Jabbama which Jabbama said it’s on my instruction but I cannot remember this instruction until I crosscheck,' he said.
The charges against Yuguda read in part: 'That you Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki whilst being National Security Adviser and Shaibu Salisu, whilst being the Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Bashir Yuguda whilst being the Minister of State for Finance between 5th February and 16th April 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court entrusted with dominion over certain properties to wit: an aggregate sum of N1.1billion being part of the funds in the account of the National Security Adviser with CBN committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property when you transferred same to the account of Jabbama Ada Global Services Nigeria Limited for the purpose of financing the campaign of PDP in the 2015 general election and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol.4, LFN 2004.
'That you, Bashir Yuguda whilst being Minister of State for Finance between 23rd December 2014 and 10th February, 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court dishonestly misappropriated certain property to wit: an aggregate sum of $9,809,619 which was an equivalent of the aggregate sum of N1,950,000 belonging to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which sum was transferred to Jabbama Ada Global Services to be converted into the said dollars and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 309 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol.4, LFN 2004.' The Nation