According to Vanguard, this emerged as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, senators have distanced themselves from the attempt by the Senate Committee on Public Petitions to drag the EFCC Chairman to the National Assembly for questioning when members resume from vacation.
The PDP caucus in the Senate, led by the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, said it would not be part of the probe of Lamorde by the Senate and asked the Committee to suspend the action for now.
The PDP senators said that while they are not opposed to any committee performing its oversight function, they felt that inviting Lamorde at this time was inappropriate since such action mooted in the past had failed to produce any result.
The statement was jointly issued by Senators Akpabio, Phillip Aduda, Emmanuel Bwacha and Abiodun Olujimi.
The chairman, it was learned, was suspicious over the strange invitation at the time the Senators were on vacation and no formal debate had ensued over the said matter.
A source close to the commission said that it was doubtful if Lamorde would honour the invitation slated for today.
EFCC also issued a statement last night, saying it was surprised over the claim that the commission diverted N1 trillion when such never happened.
A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said that the commission had never seen anything close to N1 trillion since its inception and wondered how those bent on destroying the commission came by the said amount.
Wilson said: “In the first instance, claims of a N1 trillion corruption in EFCC is infantile and assaults the sensibilities of all reasonable stakeholders in the anti-corruption fight.
“Even if EFCC had not returned a kobo of recovered assets in its 12 years existence in addition to the yearly appropriated funds from the Federation Account, it will be nowhere near a trillion naira.
“This clearly exposes the mission of the so-called petitioner as nothing more than mischief, designed to smear Lamorde.
“More sinister is the discovery that the so-called petition did not follow the procedure for consideration by the Senate. It was sent, not to the senate, but to a member, Senate Peter Nwaoboshi, a first term senator from Delta North.
“Under the Senate rules, petitions meant for consideration by the Red Chamber are sent to the Senate, not to a member of the senate.
“Also, petitions meant for the Senate are tabled at the plenary, before they are referred to the relevant committees for further consideration.”
The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, has been accused of diverting over N1tn recovered from corrupt politicians who forfeited their loots. A man named George Uboh recently petitioned the Senate, accusing the chairman of the anti-graft agency of diverting money recovered from corrupt politicians including former Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha; and ex-Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun.
The Senate having received the petition which was dated July 31st, ordered its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the allegations. Both the petitioner and Mr Lamorde have been invited to appear by the Senate committee at Meeting Room 120 of the New Senate Building, National Assembly Complex, on Wednesday August 26th for some questioning.
According to the petition which was addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki, Mr Lamorde is accused of carrying out many diversions while he served as the Director of Operations of the EFCC between 2003 and 2007 and also as an acting Chairman of the commission between June 2007 and May 2008.
The petitioner alleged that in March 2013, the EFCC boss diverted the sum of N779m out of the total N3bn forfeited by former police chief, Tafa Balogun to the Federal Government. He also alleged that the EFCC boss conspired with some officials of the anti-graft agency to under-remit the former IG’s forfeited funds of about N5.85bn into the Consolidated Revenue Account by holding back about N2.65bn.
The petitioner assured the Senate that he was ready to provide unparalleled evidence to back his allegations against Lamorde. Both men are expected to appear before the Senate by 10am on Wednesday August 26th.
The party, in a statement by its State Publicity Secretary, Mr Jackson Adebayo also accused Fayemi of distracting the commission’s investigation through his recent utterances in the media.
This came as the APC described the allegation against Fayemi as a pack of lies, noting that the state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose misrepresented the latter’s view.
The PDP said: ‘’ Why is he coming out almost a year after he was voted out of government by the Ekiti people, when he knows well that some security agencies are after him if not because he want to mislead and coerce them to believe that he was prudent.
‘’We still insist that the leadership of the APC is hell-bent on protecting Dr. Kayode Fayemi from the searchlight of the EFCC and other security agencies because they know that he ran Ekiti government aground before he was booted out by the popular vote, which has been judged to be the most peaceful, freest and fairest in the recent time.
‘’Anybody or person found wanting of mismanagement of the state resources must be brought to book.’’
On its part, the APC in statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Olatunbosun, said: ‘’Instead of regaling in the destruction of Fayemi’s legacies, which presented the best opportunities for Ekiti State to grow, Fayose is not only destroying himself, but also mortgaging the future of Ekiti people through stomach infrastructure that provides a kilogramme of rice and three-month-old chicken at every Christmas.
”Fayemi’s projects presented the best opportunities for the state to grow, but Fayose has been hiding under non-existent debts to deny Ekiti people needed development.
‘’Fayose said that Fayemi bought N50 million bed even when there is no N1 million bed in Government House. He said Fayemi built the new Government House with N3.5bn while in truth the building cost N2.1bn and is the cheapest of such in the country, the same way he said that Ekiti bond was taken to plant flowers.”
The Acting National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, gave the challenge when he received a delegation of members PDP in the senate at Legacy House, the party’s campaign office in Abuja.Secondus, who called for President Muhamadu Buhari intervention, said that the anti-graft agency was only investigating PDP members in its anti-corruption war leaving those who served under APC.
“So far, statistics has shown that EFCC has only arrested members of our party, those who have served in previous government. “But there are APC governors and members, who have served various governments, they have been left alone. “We believe that a government that is serious with anti corruption crusade cannot be one sided or selective. It should be holistic,’’ Secondus said. He called on the EFCC to also investigate APC governors rather than targeting only PDP ex-governors and ex-ministers.
“We have seen on the pages of newspapers allegation from Lagos and Rivers states on the ex-governors. What is EFCC doing to those allegations? ” Secondus asked
The acting chairman, assured that the NWC would work with the PDP senate leadership to make sure that they were successful. Secondus said that from the inauguration of the senate to the election of the senate leadership, the NWC was pleased with the process and those elected. Also answering question on the allegation that the NWC spent 12 billion within nine months, Secondus said that the figure was not correct.
“What is correct is that from the sales of forms, we raised over N11 billion.’’
“According to our party’s guideline and constitution, this N11 billion was meant to be shared among the states, local governments and the zones. “The local government will have five per cent, the states; 10 per cent, and the zones; five per cent. That means 20 per cent is taken away from that. “You are also aware that people went on assignment about 15 per cent is also taken away, the rest I can tell you was used for our campaign and elections.
“No body, no member of the NWC has embezzled any money,’’ Secondus said. He added that the Staff Welfare Association who made the allegation had apologised through its letter to the NWC. “We raise our money and we used our money, that is the correct thing,’’ Secondus added.
Earlier, Godswill Akpabio, who led the delegates, said the aim of the visit was to appreciate the NWC for endorsing decision of PDP senate caucus that led to their emergence as senate leaders.
Akpabio, who is the Senate Minority Leader, said that the senate PDP caucus unanimously endorsed the action of the NWC so far since May 29.
“We are very proud working with your committee, and today we pass a vote of confidence on the NWC under the leadership of Sencondus. “We are saying that we are behind you as ambassadors of the senate; we will do our best, positively to project the image of PDP,’’ Akpabio said.
He urged Buhari to carry everybody along in his administration irrespective of their party affiliations.
He also condemned what he described as interference of the Department of the State Security Services (DSS) in the electoral matter by detaining INEC officials only in states being controlled by PDP. He listed Akwa-Ibom, Abia and Rivers as states most harassed by the DSS while INEC officials in APC controlled states were not invited for interrogation.
“No country in the world can claim they have a democracy when it does not have vibrant and viable opposition. “So any group aiming to kill opposition party does not believe in democracy,’’ Akpabio said.
On the PDP internal crisis, between the staff and NWC of PDP, Akpabio said that the senators were happy to note that the staff had written apology letter to the NWC. Other members of the delegates include Sen. Abiodun Olujimi, the Senate Deputy Minority Whip and Sen. Philip Aduda, among others.
The former NAFDAC Director of Finance and Accounts, Ademola Mogbojuri, who was surreptitiously moved from his Abuja office to Kaduna by Orhii, might also be invited by the EFCC to confront the DG with evidence of his misdeeds before final decision is taken on what next to do with him.
Orhii was questioned for hours, yesterday, by a crack team of detectives for allegedly awarding huge contracts to companies in which he has interests.
An EFCC top source confirmed that the DG, who arrived the commission’s headquarters around 10am had been making useful statement to its agents.
The source said: “It is true that the NAFDAC head was summoned and quizzed in relation to allegations that he has been awarding contracts running into millions of Naira to companies close to him.”
Dr Orhii has, however, been released after interrogations.
It will be recalled that Orhii and Mogbojuri have been having a running battle over the finances of NAFDAG, leading to a media war.
While Mogbojuri insists that Orhii has been using companies owned by him to do the agency’s major jobs, Orhii claims that none of the firms doing contracts for the agency belongs to him or his siblings.
Orhii said: “And for the avoidance of doubts, since I came to NAFDAC, the same contractors who have been working for the agency have been the ones working under me because they are good.
“So, the allegation that I brought phony companies to do business and I award contracts to them is false and all our contracts followed due process; the documentation is there and is verifiable.”
Orhii, who also denied mismanaging funds generated by NAFDAC, said though the agency had a huge debts on its hands, funds accruing to it have been judiciously used to provide critical facilities for the body.
Among other issues, Mogbojuri accused the Director-General of increasing NAFDAC’s debt profile and squandering monies generated by it.
But Orhii said: “It’s true that I met the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) at N2.5 billion. Three years ago we made N6 billion. Last year, we got up to N7 billion and we hope that by this year, we will take it up to N9 billion.
“So, for the Director of Finance, who should know, to say that we have been making N9 billion for the past four years, he is simply being mischievous or it’s a case of incompetence or both.
“It is the money that we generate that we use to run the agency. In fact, the Federal Government basically pays our salaries. Like the budget for this year, for which we budgeted almost N9 billion for overheard expenditure, there is zero allocation for us.
“Last year, we were allocated N10 million but at the end of the year we were only given N7.2 million.
“Yes, we have generated more money from NAFDAC since I came on board for which I think I deserve credit.”
He also denied inflating the contract for the building of its head office in Lagos, saying that due process was followed in the building and furnishing of the edifice.
Justice Folahanmi Oloyede,THERE were indications in Osogbo on Sunday that Justice Folahanmi Oloyede, who recently accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of graft, had been invited to the Abuja headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
A source close to the judge told journalists in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, on Sunday that the judge was contacted by an official of the EFCC, who asked her to come to the Abuja office of the commission to assist them in the investigation into the allegations.
Oloyede, a serving judge in the Osun State judiciary had recently petitioned the state House of Assembly, asking that impeachment proceedings be commenced against Aregbesola, who she also accused of being corrupt.
The source said the judge had expressed her readiness to assist the anti-graft agency if they come to Osogbo to investigate the petition but that she could not afford to travel to Abuja at the moment.
The judge had in her petition written on June 19 to the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salam, accused Aregbesola of financial recklessness.
She had also sent a copy of the petition to the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, among others.
The governor had told the House of Assembly during the inauguration of the lawmakers in June that his administration had received N20bn from federal allocations and internally generated revenue since inception till the end of 2014.
But the judge said the state got N538bn and alleged that the governor falsified the figure in order to hide the balance of the receipts.
Her petition read in part, Mr. Governor is deemed to have received on behalf of the state and local governments, revenues well in excess of N538bn within the period under reference, therefore, the figures being currently touted by Mr. Governor are cooked, manipulated, fallacious and fraudulent. They are undeniable evidence of corruption!
But in spite of all those huge earnings, and for no justifiable reasons, at least not justifiable before rationally thinking minds, coupled with the accumulation of foreign and local debts, Mr. Governor could still not provide the much touted infrastructures and to make matters worse, he couldnt even discharge the simplest and least complicated of functions in governance, which is to maintain the civil service, pay pensions, run public schools and hospitals, and the maintenance of existing Trunk B Roads.
The state House of assembly had set up a panel to investigate the judges petition but she had disagreed with the panel.
The judge, who did not show up in person before the panel, had sent her counsel, Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN) to represent her and she complained that the panel ought to make a copy of Aregbesolas reply to her petition available to her for further action.
But the panel headed by Mr. Adegboye Akintunde, who is also the deputy speaker of the House, disagreed with the judges request, saying the panel was not obligated to make the response of the defendant available to the petitioner.
The two week given the panel to investigate the petition had expired last Friday.
In connection with the said money, two senior accountants in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs have already been queried and suspended from office pending the conclusion of investigation into their roles in the alleged theft of the fund.
Vanguard learned that although the two officers promptly responded to the query by pleading that they were simply carrying out their duties as civil servants, the ministry immediately suspended them, rejecting their excuse.
They had argued that they withdrew the money based on the instruction of superior authorities and that as civil servants they could not have disobeyed their ‘superiors’ who asked them to make the said amount available for official use.
The amount in question was reportedly taken in two withdrawals on the instructions of senior political aide, claiming to be working on the directives of a top presidency bigwig.
The first sum of N605 million withdrawn by a minister from the account of the ministry went missing after being withdrawn from the CBN and is the subject of investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, while another withdrawal of over N800 million attracted the attention of the HoS which queried the two accountants and finally suspended them.
There were indications that the suspended accountants had named those who were behind the cash withdrawals and had tried to exonerate themselves from the deal.
It was learned that the Federal Government is bent on inviting a former minister in the ministery to appear before its anti-corruption bodies to explain his role in the missing cash.
Already, one of the former ministers and close confidant of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has been questioned by the ICPC and freed by the commission.
The former minister claimed that he had already resigned before the cash went missing and that he never asked anyone to withdraw such amount for him, knowing that it was against service regulations.
Already, the Presidency has been given a brief on the finances of the ministry and the roles played by some senior political actors in the dying days of the last administration.
The workers’ revelations and allegations appeared so strong that party spokesman Olisa Metuh alleged that the ruling party, APC has infiltrated their party.
Protesting yesterday, the PDP workers under the aegis of the PDP Workers Welfare Association alleged that the leadership of the Party under the Acting Chairman, Uche Secondus and Secretary Professor Adewale Oladipo have lost relevance and direction to lead the party and should therefore resign and face the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
In a press conference statement jointly signed by the chairman of the PDP Staff welfare Association Ngozi Nzeh and Secretary Dan Ochu-Baiye, the aggrieved workers stressed that they were surprised that members of the NWC were still hanging around to kill the party after former chairman of the party, Alhaji Adamu Muazu had resigned following the failure of the party.
The staff said, “It is curious to observe that a party which once prided itself as the biggest party in Africa could be so liquidated by such executive recklessness of its NWC members so much so that N12,000,000,000 (Twelve Billion Naira) was squandered in 9 months.
“Party members will need to know why delegates were compelled to pay the sum of N10,000 (Ten Thousand Naira) each into a private account of a company called MORUFI NIG. LTD. We are aware that over N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) was realized from this fraudulent exercise. Why did the NWC compel Party members to pay sums into a company account rather than the usual party account in the same Zenith Bank?
“As part of their agenda to ridicule and crumble the party, legitimate bills owed to media houses, contractors and even cleaners have not been paid till date. Most Party members who conducted congresses and primaries that generated these huge sums have also not been paid.
“Will over twelve million members of PDP believe that even as we address this press conference, the NWC are still using party finances to fund frivolous personal expenses such as weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals etc to the tuned of hundreds of millions of naira.
“Because of these ceaseless acts of recklessness and palpable fear for their fate, they have refused to summon a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) since the Party lost in the last elections. Shouldn’t any organization with a responsible leadership call for a NEC meeting for an appraisal of what transpired months after we lost elections?
“Several factors have been adduced as the reasons why the party performed so poorly in the last general elections. We make bold to say that responsibility for the abysmal outing of the party should be located directly at the doorstep of the NWC members due to the following reasons:- Criminal imposition of unpopular candidates; Mind boggling extortion of aspirants. An example here is the yet to be resolved allegation by Ndudi Godwin Elumelu who paid whopping N750,000,000 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) to the NWC to obtain the gubernatorial ticket of the party in Delta State. There are many other victims; Appointment of incompetent cronies who were specifically detailed to return unpopular candidates as officers in congresses and primaries. The same scenario is being played out in Kogi while Bayelsa is in the wings.
“In Kogi, it is widely alleged that the incumbent Governor was requested to cough out the sum of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) to the same NWC to retain his ticket. Non remittance of campaign funds to state chapters; Results submitted by Congress Committees were blatantly changed; Wholesome embezzlement of proceeds of sales of nomination forms.”
The workers who boasted that it has possession of incriminating documents to indict the NWC, however called on the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), the national caucus and other critical stakeholders to invoke the relevant section of the party’s constitution to hold a NEC meeting to sack the NWC.
It would be recalled that the PDP, barely two months into its new status as the opposition political party, after sixteen years of power, was already struggling in all quarters and yesterday concluded to reduce its staff strength by 50%.
The party had on Wednesday said it would reduce the salaries and allowances of its staff by 50%, those of members of the National Working Committee.
In a letter signed by PDP National Secretary, Professor Wale Oladipo and addressed to all directors and administrative staff of PDP, the leadership of the Party would also reduce the number of its security by 50%.
The letter dated 29 July, 2015 with reference number PS/DD/AD/HOD/SAs/PAS and obtained by Vanguard, the Secretary who noted that the decisions were reached at the 406th meeting of the NWC yesterday, stressed that the party’s Research Directorate has also been abolished and functions of the Directorate transferred to the Peoples Democratic Institute.
The PDP while asking its workers to return to their respective states and prove their membership, had said, “Furthermore, Establishment staff who would remain are required to obtain individual letter of revalidation from their State Party Chapter within one month of this circular as to their suitability for service at the National Secretariat.”
The workers statements read in part: “In view of the incontrovertible fact that the current National Working Committee has lost relevance and direction and has proven grossly incompetent of leading the party out of the present quagmire, we demand their immediate resignation.
“We are surprised that while the former National Chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu resigned, these harbingers of political ill-fate are still hanging on to celebrate over the misfortunes of the Party.
“Nigerians will recall that in the United Kingdom, leaders of Labour and Liberal Democrats resigned honourably following the loss of their parties in the 2015 British Parliamentary Elections. What is the PDP NWC still waiting for? To hang on and further scavenge on the party? This must stop.
“We appeal to the Board of Trustees, the National Caucus and other members of the National Executive Committee to invoke relevant sections of the Party constitution to call for a meeting of NEC since the NWC is reluctant to do so. A stitch in time saves nine.
“We also call on the anti-graft agencies such as the EFCC, the Police, and ICPC to beam their searchlight on the nefarious activities of the PDP NWC before they finally take the party to the grave yard.
“We demand that the National Secretary and his co-travelers in the NWC unconditionally withdraw their sadistic circular and adhere strictly to the provisions of the establishment manual should they no longer require our services.
The workers also took a swipe at the National publicity secretary Olisa Metuh for failure to lead the party to victory in his home state of Anambra and lacked the morale right to question their loyalty to the party.
“We demand that the Publicity Secretary who claimed that staff of the PDP have lost touch with the state chapters withdraws the statement unconditionally. We have evidence to show that the same person who made this allegation lost woefully in his ward and polling booth in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in Anambra State where he openly campaigned for and supported the candidate of APGA against the PDP. He again lost his ward and polling booth in the state Assembly elections of April 11, 2015, the stated.
Responding, Metuh who described their call as baseless, falsehood and contrived, stressed that they were only playing out the script they were handed by the opposition APC party, adding, the party was aware of plots by the APC to infiltrate her members and create confusion within the party and that is what these aggrieved staffers are doing.
According to him, the protest by its workers was a distraction orchestrated by the APC for members of the public’s attention be diverted from these critical issues that they have raised.
Metuh who wondered how come it was now that the PDP has become a thorn in the flesh of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and its government at the centre that these kind of internal protests were sprouting, however maintained that the real issues were for the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Lawal Daura to resign ditto for the Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to a NIMASA official who revealed this toPremium Times, Akpobolokemi was arrested this morning at about 10am over allegations of misappropriation of funds during his tenure as the DG of the maritime agency
“He was taken in this morning around 10 a.m. Some of our other officials have also been summoned while EFCC operatives have been conducting discreet investigation here. There is tension everywhere. One of our people just returned from EFCC and he told me the former DG is still there, sweating profusely as he was being questioned by investigators.” the source said
EFCC officials stormed the NIMASA head office and interrogated some officials over contracts awarded by Mr Akpobolokemi during the last administration
“For instance, they wanted to know how a whopping N13 billion was spent on the acquisition of land for the permanent site of the Nigerian Maritime University in Delta. They also asked about other transactions they believed were fraudulent, including transfers of millions of dollars from NIMASA accounts to other accounts. the source added
An official of EFCC who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed Mr Akpobolokemi’s arrest.
“Im aware he is with us but I dont have details about the case against him or what investigators are asking him, said the official