Saturday, 1 September 2018

Revealed:Eight A List Alleged Corrupt Politicians Working For Buhari's Reelection

At least eight out of the politicians working for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 2019 election have pending corruption cases worth N232bn, checks by Saturday PUNCH have revealed.

Investigation showed that the amount involved in the various graft cases, which are currently pending before security agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, range from N223m to N100bn for each of the politicians.

Some of the eight politicians, who used to be members of the Peoples Democratic Party and other opposition parties, had allegedly defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress to stop the dangling axe of the EFCC and other security agencies from falling on them.

Specifically, the politicians who are currently either under probe or prosecution for allegedly diverting government funds have separately vowed to ensure Buhari remains in power untill 2023.

The eight politicians include the senator representing Nasarawa West at the National Assembly, Abdullahi Adamu; the senator representing Sokoto North and former Governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko; ex-Senate Minority Leader and former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, who recently defected from the PDP to the APC; and a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu.

Others are the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; the former Governor of Rivers State and Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015, Rotimi Amaechi; the Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari; and former National Chairman of the PDP, Ali Modu Sheriff.

Abdullahi Adamu (N15bn)

For instance, Adamu, a serving senator and former Governor of Nasarawa State, is one of the President’s allies in the Senate. He is also a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Buhari 2019 Presidential Support Committee.

The lawmaker is being prosecuted alongside 18 others for allegedly stealing N15bn from the treasury through contracts awarded when he was governor for eight years.

His son, Nurianu, was also arraigned by the EFCC in January 2018 for alleged N90m fraud. However, the former governor has been one of the fiercest critics of Senate President Bukola Saraki.

According to Saraki, the former governor has been insulting him in order to get a soft landing.

Saraki had said in July, “I have deliberately ignored the antics of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, especially his constant media attacks on me and the Senate since the EFCC dusted his file on alleged case of corruption and also went ahead to arraign his son in court.”

Aliyu Wamakko (N15bn)

Senator Aliyu Wamakko is in charge of Buhari’s campaign in Sokoto State. A few weeks ago, he held a massive rally on behalf of Buhari in order to prove to the President that Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s defection would be of no effect.

Wamakko, who served as governor from 2007 to 2015, is under investigation over allegations of theft of public funds and money laundering totalling N15bn, an allegation he has vehemently denied.

Spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, had confirmed in April that the commission was investigating allegations contained in a petition against Wammako and that he would soon be invited to defend the allegations.

Godswill Akpabio (N100bn)

The former governor of Akwa Ibom State has been under probe by the EFCC for over three years based on allegations that he  diverted over N100bn from the coffers of the state between 2007 and 2015.

Akpabio was welcomed into the APC by the President himself.

The former governor, who represents Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District, recently vowed that the APC would take over Akwa Ibom the way Adolph Hitler invaded Poland.

Akpabio, who on Friday travelled to China with the President is arguably the closest defector to Buhari and has vowed to do everything possible to ensure Buhari is re-elected.

Although he has been grilled by the EFCC, he has not been charged.

Orji Uzor Kalu (N3.2bn)

Kalu, who governed Abia State from 1999 to 2007, was one of the most influential politicians in the South-East during his time in government. After leaving the PDP, he formed the Progressive Peoples Alliance from where he contested and lost a senatorial election in 2015.

The following year, he defected to the APC and has paid several visits to the President since then.

Recently, he visited the President in his hometown of Daura, Katsina State, where he was bestowed with the title, ‘Dan Baiwan Hausa’ by the Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouq.

According to the emir, Kalu was bestowed with the title in appreciation of his “unwavering support for our son, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Bayajida II .”

However, the former governor has been having a running legal battle with the EFCC since leaving office.

The EFCC alleged that Kalu and the others committed fraud between August 2001 and October 2005. It accused Kalu of utilising his company (Slok Nigeria Limited) to retain in the account of First Inland Bank, now First City Monument Bank, the sum of N200m.

The commission said that the sum formed part of funds illegally derived from the coffers of the Abia State government. The EFCC also said that the accused retained, in different bank accounts, about N2.5bn belonging to the state government, adding that he diverted about N3.2bn from the coffers of the same government.

Regardless of his travails, the former governor has insisted that he will do all within his power to ensure that Buhari is re-elected.

Babachir Lawal (N223m)

The immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, was accused by the Senate ad hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the North-East, led by Senator Shehu Sani, of awarding a N223m consultancy contract for the removal of invasive plant species in Komadugu, Yobe Water Channels to his company, Rholavision Engineering in contravention of Section 43(iii) and (iv) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

A committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo subsequently investigated Lawal and recommended his dismissal in October 2017, a year after he was indicted by the Senate.

Although he is under probe by the EFCC, Babachir is among the key figures running Buhari’s re-election campaign in Adamawa State. He also revealed during a recent interview on Channels Television that he still had direct access to the President.

The former SGF has been having a leadership tussle with Governor Jibrilla Bindow over who should lead Buhari’s campaign in the state.

Rotimi Amaechi (N97bn)

Amaechi, who was the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015, has been charged with the task of ensuring that Buhari is elected a second time.

The Minister of Transport, who is the face of the Buhari campaign, was indicted by the Justice George Omeregi-led Rivers State Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the sale of state assets.

He and others were accused of allegedly misappropriating N97bn through the sale of the state valued assets.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, had alleged that $150m (N30bn at the time) was spent on Buhari’s campaign in 2015.

Amaechi challenged his indictment but lost at the Appeal Court. Although anti-graft agencies have refused to state if he is under investigation or not, he has yet to clear his name and is still under investigation by the state government.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Emma Okah, insisted that Amaechi was not cleared by the panel that indicted him on the sale of some assets belonging to the state.

Also, a top official at the Government House in Port Harcourt, pointed out that at the last count on the matter, the former governor had gone to the Supreme Court.

An appeal filed by Amaechi against the Justice George Omereji-led panel was in May 2017 dismissed by the Appeal Court in Port HarCourt.

The Appeal Court had said that the refusal of Amaechi to appear before the panel amounted to self-denial.

But Okah said that the matter was currently at the Supreme Court.

“He (Amaechi) went to court against the panel and the matter is still in the Supreme Court. The state government has not cleared him on the matter concerning the sale of valued assets belonging to the state,” he said.

Amaechi could not be reached for comments, as he did not answer calls to his mobile phone.

A text message sent to him on the matter did not get any reply.

However, a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Transportation told our correspondent that the minister was out of the country.

The official, who also works directly with the minister, stated he (the official) was not aware of the said allegations against Amaechi.

“I have not seen it (the report) and can’t speak on it. However, the minister is in China right now,” the official, who pleaded to be anonymous, said.

Abdul’aziz Yari (N680m)

Yari has been engaged in a fierce battle with the EFCC for over a year following allegations that he diverted nearly N700m which formed part of the Paris Club refund due to his state.

In July last  year, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of N500m and $500,000 (N180m) said to have been looted from the Paris Club refunds made by the Federal Government in favour of the 36 states of the federation.

The sums of money said to have been recovered from two firms, First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited, and Gosh Projects Limited, were allegedly linked to the governor.

The EFCC also alleged, in an affidavit filed in support of its ex parte application seeking the interim forfeiture of the sums of money, that the N500m was diverted to offset Yari’s personal loan obtained from the First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited.

In July, the Presidential Support Committee of Buhari 2019 appointed Sheriff as the director-general.

The National Secretary of the group, Kassim Kassim, said in a statement that the conglomerate of about 300 Buhari supporters’ groups unanimously endorsed Sheriff to lead the Presidential Support Committee, Buhari 2019 and not the Buhari’s Campaign Organisation for the 2019 election.

He said groups that made up the Presidential Support Committee were all registered with the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Political Matters.

Sheriff and others are under investigation for allegedly receiving N450m out of the N23bn ($115m) bribe allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the build-up to the 2015 elections.

He has been grilled several times by the EFCC but was never charged. His private jet was also impounded by the commission but later released to him.

Source:Punch

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