However, our sources gathered on Saturday that the latest move was as a result of fresh discoveries that more chieftains of the party got funds from the office of the National Security Adviser, specifically for the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential campaign.
A former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, was reported to have given N600m to six chairmen of the contact and mobilization committee of the PDP in the 2015 elections.
He was reported to have listed George (South-West); Yerima Abdulahi (North-East); Peter Odili (South-South); and Attahiru Bafarawa (North-West) as beneficiaries of the funds. Yuguda, in a statement made to the EFCC, said the money was for the 2015 general elections. Bafarawa, a former Governor of Sokoto State, has since admitted receiving N100m.
But George, a former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, denied reports that he had collected N100m from Dasuki.
In a write-up titled, ‘Hack writers and the contempt for truth’ on December 9, 2015, the PDP leader said, “Again, I hereby restate forcefully that I neither collected nor solicited one farthing from Dasuki or anybody else. Throughout his tenure as National Security Adviser, I never met Dasuki except once or twice when he came to brief members of the national caucus.”
However, George, on December 13, admitted that he received $30,000 (N5.9m) and not N100m from Yuguda.
George said, “Yuguda gave me $30,000 to share among ourselves. Each person received $1,500 including myself.
“We held a series of meetings in Lagos and the money was used to settle hotel bills, transport and sittings. So, I don’t know what Yuguda is talking about. If the money that was given to us was stolen, how was I supposed to know?”
The three delegates that represented Lagos were George; a former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe; and a former Minister of Communications, Maj. Gen Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd.), it was learnt.
Ogunlewe also told our correspondent that the money they received was meant for the committee. He said, “They (Peoples Democratic Party) set up a committee; a reconciliation committee after the primaries in the run in to the 2015 general elections. The function of the reconciliation committee was to go all over South-West and persuade all those who were aggrieved and bring them back into the party. Hence, is that sharing of money?”
A top official of the EFCC, who confided in one of our correspondents, however said that despite the denials and ‘half truths’ by some of the suspects, findings by the commission showed that other sums, apart from the initial N600m, were diverted into the campaign fund from the NSA office.
He said, “The commission is looking into the funding of the presidential campaign of the former president. Some of the money that was spent came from the NSA office.
“We have been looking into the bank accounts of those involved in the PDP campaign fund and more names will be revealed in the coming weeks. Yuguda was not the only person that shared the campaign funds and the money involved was more than N600m.There are strong links between the campaign fund and the NSA’s office.”
Attempts to get the reaction of the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as he did not pick his mobile telephone nor respond to an SMS sent to him.
The commission had on Monday arraigned the past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and two others before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja. They were arraigned for the misappropriation of funds meant for the purchase of arms.
Those arraigned along with Dasuki were a former Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, and Aminu Baba-Kusa. Baba-Kausa’s two firms – Acacia Holdings Ltd and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited – were also indicted.
The accused leaded not guilty to all the 19 counts involving misappropriation of about N32bn when the charges were read to them before Justice Yusuf Baba on Monday.
Justice Baba Yusuf later granted bail in the sum of N250m with one surety to Dasuki and others being prosecuted along with him.
But Dasuki and Salisu are to remain in EFCC custody to wait for the ruling of Justice Peter Affen of the same FCT High Court in Abuja on their bail application with respect to another set of 22 counts of misappropriation of about N13bn arms fund.
Other accused persons who are also awaiting the ruling of the court fixed for Monday are former Governor Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Attahiru; a firm Dalhatu Investment and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.