Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Senator Nenadi Usman, for allegedly receiving N2.5bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A top official of the EFCC, said the former minister was arrested on Thursday in Abuja.
All funds that came from the Presidency during the campaign were believed to have come through Usman.
Usman, who is also a former Minister of State for Finance, had been on the radar of the EFCC for several weeks but she travelled out of the country on March 13, 2016 thereby stalling investigations.
According to impeccable sources at the anti-graft agency, N4bn was transferred from the account of the CBN into a mysterious account known as the Ministry of External Affairs Library.
The mysterious account was believed to be a conduit put in place by the Office of the National Security Adviser on the instructions of the Presidency.
From the mysterious account, N2.5bn was said to have been transferred to the company account of Usman while N140m cash was allegedly paid into her Zenith Bank account with number, 1000158311, domiciled in 7 Kachia Road, Kaduna.
The said transfer was said to have taken place in January 2015, during the build-up to the last presidential election.
It was reported in March that Usman, on the instructions of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, transferred different sums of money to several individuals and interest groups during the build-up to the last general elections.
Usman allegedly transferred money to several persons through the bank account of a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
Through the said account, the Director of Publicity of the Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, received N840m.
According to the documents sighted by our correspondent, the money was deposited into Fani-Kayode’s Zenith Bank account, Maitama branch with account number 1004735721 on February 19, 2015.
EFCC sources said a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae, received N100m through a company, Marreco Limited, where he is chairman.
The fund was credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account number 1000627022.
About N320m was also paid into the bank account of the Goodluck Support Group, an association of over 100 pro-Jonathan groups headed by Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Political Affairs, Prof. Rufai Alkali.
However, many of the recipients of the money said they did not know that the funds emanated from the CBN as they were told by Usman that they were sourced privately.
A detective at the EFCC described Usman’s arrest as a breakthrough, adding that she would be able to shed more light on the controversy.
He said, “A lot of people who received money during the campaign claimed to have received money from Nenadi Usman. Since she was in charge of funds, she will be able to list the names of those who collected money and if the money was approved by Jonathan.
“There is no part of the constitution which gives the CBN the right to fund a political party. Usman must therefore tell us why the CBN gave her money.”
It was gathered that the former Finance Minister was being interrogated at the EFCC headquarters as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has also traced N316m to the company account of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Clement Iloh.
It was learnt that Iloh was currently in the EFCC custody as part of investigations into the fraud at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency under the leadership of the immediate past Director-General of the agency, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi.
A reliable source in the anti-graft agency told our correspondent that the N316m was traced to Iloh’s company account domiciled in Zenith Bank in contravention of Civil Service Rules.
The Civil Service Rules Part I, Fifth Schedule, Section 2 (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that, “A public officer shall not, except where he is not employed on a full-time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade, but nothing shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming.”
The source, who did not want his name in print, said the permanent secretary was undergoing interrogation at the Lagos office of the EFCC as of Wednesday.
The detective said N14.1m was traced to Iloh’s bank account from NIMASA.
He said, “In the course of investigating the Technical Committee for Ratification of MLC of NIMASA, we traced about N14.1m from NIMASA’s account to a company account belonging to Clement, Bob and Associates domiciled in Zenith Bank. Upon investigations, we found out that the account belonged to the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Clement Iloh, who is the sole signatory.
He is being investigated because we traced N316m to a company belonging to him.
“The name of the company is Clement, Bob and Associates. Investigations revealed that Iloh is a signatory to the account which is domiciled in Zenith Bank.”
It was learnt that although NIMASA is not under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the ministry is concerned with relations between workers and employers.
Last year, Iloh as the permanent secretary headed the ministry for several months in the absence of a minister, overseeing labour matters at NIMASA.
The source stated that the EFCC traced some money from what he called ‘maritime labour services’ into Iloh’s account.