The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the immediate past Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus.
It was learnt on Wednesday that he was arrested by operatives of the commission in Abuja on Tuesday.
Investigations by one of our correspondents showed that Secondus was picked up as a result of the statements made by the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jide Omokore.
Omokore was arrested by the commission last week over the investigation into fuel subsidy payments when Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke was the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
It was, gathered that Omokore, an ally of Alison-Madueke, mentioned Secondus name during his interrogation over the fuel subsidy payments and other oil deals.
An operative of the EFCC, who confided in The PUNCH, said Secondus was being grilled over 23 cars worth N302m he and other persons collected from Omokore. The cars consisted of Mercedes G63 and Range Rover Autobiography.
It was also learnt that the names of some prominent members of the party, including a former national chairman during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan featured during the interrogation.
The source in the commission said Secondus ought to have been arrested long ago, but was left because he was piloting the affairs of the PDP.
The source added, “He is being interrogated over 23 exotic cars worth N302m he and some other people allegedly collected from Omokore. The cars included Mercedes G63 and Range Rover Autobiography.
“We ought to have arrested Secondus long ago, but we waited for him to hand over to the new chairman (Ali Modu Sheriff). If we had arrested him earlier, they would have said it was political.
“He’s involved in oil deals with the former minister of petroleum resources. His case has nothing to do with the arms deal.
“Also, a former chairman of the party, (not Haliru Bello Mohammed), is also involved. Mohammed’s case is the arms deal. Secondus is with us and he’s cooperating with investigators.”
When one of our correspondents visited the head office of the EFCC, on Wednesday, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, was seen leaving the office.
Metuh told one of our correspondents that Secondus was arrested for receiving buses from Omokore during the build-up to the last elections.
Metuh, when asked what he came to do at the commission, said, “We came to see Secondus, who is here at the EFCC. During the elections, Omokore was said to have donated buses to the party. The EFCC claims that the buses were not paid for.”
When asked if Secondus would be charged to court, Metuh said, “You will have to ask the EFCC.”
Omokore is also said to be an ally of Jonathan.
His firm was one of the companies that allegedly received multi-billion dollar public assets without due process by the Jonathan administration in 2011.
The company, which was established in 2010, was said not to have produced any oil as of the time it was curiously awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks – OML 30 and 34 – for just over $50m each.
The deal, which was reportedly signed by Diezani, gave Atlantic Energy Limited a controlling 55 per cent stake in the oil blocks.
Ironically, Shell, which owned the remaining 45 per cent stake, was said to have fetched $1.3bn for a single field after an open and competitive bidding process.
The company was also accused of lifting crude oil, but only remitting a fraction of its worth to the government.
When contacted, the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, said, “The man (Secondus) is in our custody.”
But the PDP on Wednesday lamented what it described as oppressive and unfair treatment against its key leaders by the Federal Government.
The party, in a statement by its National Legal Adviser, Mr. Victor Kwom, alleged that the arrest and detention of Secondus by the EFCC was part of “the grand script by the All Progerssives Congress-led Federal Government to decimate the opposition.”
Kwom said, “We are also aware that plans have been perfected by the Federal Government to arrest and detain the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and other leaders of the party on imaginary charges.
“Indeed, intelligence available to the party shows that the Federal Government, using its various agencies, is bent on destroying any opposition to the ruling party as all indications show that the government is more interested in humiliating the PDP than fighting corruption.
“We state that this war on the PDP and its leaders has indeed gone too far. It has now become a mockery of democratic practice.”
Meanwhile, there were indications on Wednesday that the Publisher of ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, had returned the balance N200m out of the N550m he reportedly collected from the immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Obaigbena had, a few weeks ago, returned N350m.
A source in the EFCC on Wednesday said the publisher had paid the outstanding N200m.
The source added, “He had paid the remaining N200m. You will recall that he paid N350m out of the N550m he collected from the former NSA.”
When contacted, Uwujaren said he was not aware if the money had been returned.
The Special Task Force of the EFCC, investigating the issue of arms procurement under the Jonathan administration, had quizzed Obaigbena on January 29, 2016 for allegedly receiving N670m from Dasuki.
Out of the N670m, he was reported to have given N120m to some members of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria.
Make Money Online in Nigeria... Click HERE To Start Now!