Nenadi Usman, a former finance minister, has reportedly returned N23m to the federal government. Usman, who served as the director of finance of the Goodluck Jonathan campaign organisation, is being quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly receiving N2.5bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a reliable source told The Punch that Usman was cooperating with the anti-graft agency and promised to return more money.
During the interrogation, Usman stressed that all her actions were based on the instructions of the former president. She added that she did not know that the funds belonged to taxpayers.
She said that as the director of finance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign organisation, she was asked to set up a bank account during the build-up to the election, which she did.
Usman revealed that all donations were made to Jonathan’s campaign through Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited. She noted that through the said account funds were released to all campaign directors, zonal coordinators and other related parties and groups which campaigned for the PDP.
According Usman, Femi Fani-Kayode, the director of publicity, was paid N840m through the same account. Chief Olu Falae, the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, and Rashidi Ladoja, also allegedly received N100m each through the said account.
“She told us that she did not know the funds belonged to the Federal Government. However, we asked her why she didn’t verify and also why didn’t she set up an account bearing the name of the PDP. Why did she use her company account if not that she wanted to keep things secret,”the source said.
Meanwhile, one of the campaign managers of Jonathan’s re-election campaign said the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) knew about the alleged diversion of funds from the CBN.
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“During the build-up to the last elections, when monies were going to be diverted from the account of the CBN, the Ministry of External Affairs Library was set up with the connivance of officials of the NIA. It was done so that the transaction would seem as if the money was being ed to a federal government account and it would not raise any red flags. The permanent secretary at the villa then drew up a memo on the instructions of the president and the CBN deposited the funds into the account of the Ministry of External Affairs.
“From there, the money was paid into Joint Trust Dimensions Nigeria Limited, from where monies were sent to all stakeholders during the electioneering. Preliminary investigations however suggest that the Ministry of External Affairs Library does not even exist,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, a former commissioner of the Lagos state police command, urged Goodluck Jonathan to break the silence and explain the role he played in the $2.1bn arms funds scandal.
According to Tsav, “silence is not golden for Jonathan at this period,” therefore, he should speak out or the anti-graft agency should invite him.