Investigators at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said Monday they had uncovered evidence showing how prominent politicians, mostly from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, allegedly shared N3.145billion in the build up to the 2015 presidential election.
Named in the alleged bazaar are a former aviation minister and director of media for the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign organization, Femi Fani-kayode; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Olu Falae; a former finance minister, Nenadi Usman; a former Imo state governor, Achike Udenwa; former minister of state for foreign affairs, Viola Onwuliri and politician Okey Ezenwa
A source at the anti-graft agency, who pleaded not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told PREMIUM TIMES the money was paid by the Central Bank Nigeria into the account of the Ministry of External Affairs’ Library, from where it was moved into the account of a private firm, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
“It was from the Joint Dimension’s account with Zenith Bank that the money was shared to various individuals and organizations for purposes that are not stated,” the source said.
The source described Mr. Fani-Kayode as the chief beneficiary of the disbursement, allegedly receiving a N840million, paid in three tranches into his Zenith Bank, Maitama branch, with number 1004735721.
The first tranche of payment involving N350million reportedly hit the account on February 19, 2015.
Another N250milion was also said to have been paid into the account on February 19, 2015 while N240million moved into the account a month later, precisely on March 19, 2015.
The source disclosed that the balance on this account as at December 31, 2015 was N189, 402.72.
Next to Mr. Fani-Kayode in the pecking order of alleged beneficiaries was Goodluck Support Group which allegedly received N320million. The group was headed by Rufai Alkali, a professor and then special adviser on political matters to Mr. Jonathan
Mr Falae, investigators said, received N100m through Marreco Limited, a company which board he chairs.
The fund was credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account No. 1000627022 on March 25, 2014.
Both former Governor Udenwa and ex-Minister Onwuliri got N350million in two tranches. The first tranche of N150million was paid into their joint account with Zenith bank on January 13, 2015.
The second tranche of N200miilion was paid into their account with Diamond bank.
Nenadi Usman allegedly received N36.9million through her Zenith Bank account no. 1000158311. Her branch of Zenith Bank is located at 7 Kachia Road, Kaduna, investigators said.
The coordinator of the Jonathan/ Sambo 2015 presidential campaign in Anambra state, Okey Ezenwa, is said to have received N100million.
The sources disclosed that detectives were working to determine the real motive for the distribution of the funds.
“But as things stand, the fact that most of the payments were made in the weeks preceding the last presidential election leaves very little to the imagination,” an investigator said.
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Fani-Kayode said the funds were paid into his account by Nenadi Usman, who was director of finance of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign.
“The campaign asked me to open an account for my campaign directorate, which I did,” Mr. Fani-Kayode said. “They then paid the money in for the assignment I was given. I asked them where the money came from. They said it was from private contribution for the Jonathan campaign. I believed them, and I had no way of knowing exactly where the money came from.
“As far as I’m concerned, it was campaign funds, and the money was used for the purpose for which it was meant. And we accounted for it to the man who gave us a job to do, President Jonathan.”
Mrs Usman could not be reached for comments. Her telephone was switched off the several times our reporter called.