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N23 Billion Bribe: EFCC Arrests PDP Chiefs, Former Ministers

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The ongoing anti-graft war in Nigeria has swept major chieftains of the opposition party, as the EFCC questions them.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday and Tuesday arrested key leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the North-East states of Borno, Adamawa, Yobe and Gombe, Punch reports.

The arrests, it was learnt, were part of investigations into the $115m (N23bn) allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.

This is just as Senator Saidu Kumo, who is the Special Adviser, Political Matters, to the embattled PDP Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff; and a former PDP Chairman in Gombe State, Paloma Nuhu, returned N2m each from their share of the money.

Some of those arrested include: a former Minister of Power, Mohammed Wakil (Borno); a former Minister of Science and Technology, Alhaji Abdu Bulama (Yobe); and the PDP chairman, Mr. Joel Madaki (Adamawa). The accountant of the Gombe State Government House, Mr. Mohammed Balbaya, was also arrested for the Diezani bribe.

Explaining the reason for the arrests, a reliable source at the EFCC told a correspondent that the suspects handled N450m each for their respective states.

The source said the PDP chairman in Adamawa State was arrested for receiving N450m. The chairman, Madaki, was said to have told investigators that the money was handed over to the then acting Governor Bala Ngilari.

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The detective said, “The PDP chairman in Adamawa has shifted the burden of explaining how the sum of N450m campaign funds sent to the state were distributed by the former acting governor of the state, Ngilari.

“In a statement he wrote and signed at the EFCC office in Gombe, the PDP chair said he, in conjunction with a former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hassan Adamu, a signatory to the document, authorised the release of the money by the officials of Fidelity bank in Yola.

“Madaki, however, said he immediately gave the money to the former acting governor of the state for disbursement to the beneficiaries as envisaged by the donor, adding ‘I did not know how Ngilari distributed the money’.”

The source revealed that Adamu had been invited to explain his own side of the story on June 16. It was also learnt that Ngilari might soon be invited by the anti-graft agency.

Regarding the sharing of the fund in Gombe State, the EFCC source said the accountant of the Gombe State Government House, Mr. Mohammed Balbaya, was arrested and interrogated.

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