A leading newspaper in the United Kingdom, the Mail Daily, has published a report spotlighting Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘fantastically corrupt” friend who spent over $140 million on the president’s 2015 campaign and has been accused of stealing £500 million.
“But although Muhammadu Buhari is seen by some as leading the battle against corruption, worrying allegations swirl around one of his close allies,” the British Newspaper said. “Rotimi Amaechi, who travelled with the president to the summit, is Nigeria’s transport minister and is said to have bankrolled Buhari’s presidential campaign.”
Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State has been indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry for looting the treasury of Rivers where he was governor for eight years (2007 to 2015). The Trent had obtained, exclusively, the report of the White Paper by the judicial panel which uncovered corruption to the tune of N96 billion.
This revelation follows a remark, last week, by UK’s prime minister, Mr. David Cameron in which he described Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, tagging the West African giant as “fantastically corrupt” along with Afghanistan.
The Rivers State government had issued a statement following this “unforced diplomatic error” by Cameron, saying that the British prime minister must have been referring to the former governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi, who is also Buhari’s close ally in the government. Amaechi serves as minister for transportation and is reportedly one of three minister who haveaccess to the president.
“Mr. Amaechi’s presence in the federal cabinet is a horrendous blight on President Buhari’s anti-corruption war,” the state’s commissioner of information, Dr. Austin Tam-George disclosed in a press statement on Tuesday, May 10.
“Amaechi has become the symbol of corruption in Nigeria, as he had been indicted by a court-approved judicial panel of inquiry over gross mismanagement and stealing of public funds,” Tam-George maintained.
Local media in Nigeria had tagged Amaechi the ATM of Buhari’s presidential campaign and his party the All Progressives Congress (APC). Amaechi denies the allegations of corruptions and refused to appear before the judicial panel of inquiry to defend himself.
Amaechi, who is one of Buhari’s two ‘super ministers’ has been identified by stalwarts of the APC as the chief financier of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential campaign. In a televised event mid-2015, it was announced that Amaechi contributed 80% of the funds used to bring Buhari to office as president. In addition, Amaechi is praised by APC leaders for single-handedly funding the governorship campaigns of at least five APC governors including that of former speaker, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
“[Amaechi] remains in his post despite being accused of misappropriating £338 million by a commission investigating the sale of state assets,” the UK Mail observed as it drew question to Buhari’s sincerity in fighting corruption.
“Separately, Amaechi is accused of diverting £140 million of state funds into Buhari’s presidential campaign, with reports he paid for media, consultants and private jets.
“The allegations come as the president stands accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while many millions suffer in poverty.
“A leaked draft budget for 2016 showed the Nigerian government earmarked £16 million for the refurbishment and maintenance of the president’s official residence, Aso Rock Guest House, in the capital Abuja.
“There was also a request for £13 million for building a VIP wing at a hospital used by families of the president and his ministerial team,” the paper noted.
Below is the white paper, exclusively obtained by The Trent.