… ‘I collected N700m for ex-Katsina gov’ –Ex-minister
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Tony Osauzo, Benin and Godwin Tsa, Abuja
THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has quizzed two former ministers in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration on their involvement in the disbursement of N23 billion 2015 election bribery funds.
In a statement on its Facebook page, EFCC said former minister of Mines and Steel, Musa Muhammad Sada and Asmaau Asabe Ahmed, his counterpart in the ministry of Agriculture were interrogated on funds disbursed during the election.
Sada, said EFCC, disclosed he was authorised by former Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, to collect N700 million on behalf of the state and remit same to the former commissioner of Finance for safe-keeping for the ex-governor. In a related development, Ahmed, former minister of state for Agriculture, from Niger State, revealed how she personally signed and collected N450 million. Ahmed also stated that she kept N105 million for herself. She further said the balance was given to top Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) officials in the state.
Also, yesterday, EFCC quizzed a governorship aspirant in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu on N700 million disbursed in the state for the 2015 polls.
Ize-Iyamu was invited on Tuesday to EFCC’s Port- Harcourt office to answer some questions on the disbursement and was granted administrative bail yesterday. He was asked to appear on a later date already communicated to him. Ize-Iyamu confirmed the invitation was in connection with Jonathan’s campaign funds.
Meanwhile, true to its words, EFCC arraigned former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Dikko Umar before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a seven count charge bordering on money laundering. The anti-graft agency said over N4.8 billion was laundered during his time as the head of the Nigerian Air Force. However, the ex-military brass pleaded not guilty to all the charges and was admitted to bail by Justice Binta Nyako on self-recognizance as there was no objection to his bail application by prosecuting counsel, Mr. Sylvanus Tahir.
In her ruling, Justice Nyako admitted him to bail on self-recognisance and directed him “to deposit his international passport with the Chief Registrar of the court and shall not travel out of the court’s jurisdiction without permission.” The matter was adjourned till June 7-9 for trial.
The EFCC has also detained a former minister of state for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, over his alleged involvement in the N23bn bribe distributed by a former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. The commission said in a statement yesterday that Yuguda allegedly diverted N450 million out of the money.
EFCC arrested Yuguda last year after he allegedly received suspicious payments from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), who has been embroiled in the scam.
Yuguda allegedly received N1.5 billion from the former NSA’s office through an unnamed company, for unstated purpose.
Former Interior minister, Abba Moro was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday for his alleged role in the botched 2014 Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise.
More than 19 people, including pregnant women, died in the failed exercise.
Moro was re-arraigned along with his co-accused – a former permanent secretary in the Interior ministry, Mrs. Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia, an ex-director in the ministry, Felix Alayebami and a firm, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited. They were earlier arraigned on 11 counts before Justice Anwuri Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja on February 29.
Trial was to commence before Justice Chikere on April 27, when she announced that she was withdrawing from the case, citing “personal reasons.”
They were subsequently re-arraigned before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on Wednesday.
It also emerged that former Kano governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau will, today, appear at EFCC’s zonal office in the state.
The former governor was invited by the anti-graft agency to offer explanations on the N950 million Presidential Campaign Fund which was allegedly shared in his home in Kano.