The Presidency again on Monday confronted former President Goodluck Jonathan with instances of alleged corrupt practices during his administration.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, gave the instances in a statement made available to journalists.
Akande said the statement was a direct reply to reports attributed to Jonathan’s media office that the cases of corruption being mentioned were not true and that the government officials restating the instances were liars.
He recalled that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had recently said three persons stole $3bn during the last administration.
He said, “As the Vice-President said, $3bn was stolen in the so-called NNPC Strategic Alliance Contracts. The three persons involved are Jide Omokore, Kola Aluko and the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Alison- Maduekwe.
“The companies of both Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko lifted Nigerian crude oil and kept the proceeds. The total sums converted is in excess of $3bn including royalties, taxes, and fees unpaid for the asset from which the crude was taken.
“The case is the subject of a trial in Nigeria, and criminal investigations in the US and UK, and the assets of all the three individuals have been forfeited in Nigeria, the US, and the UK.”
Akande also cited the alleged diversion and theft of sums in excess of $2.5bn meant for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against Boko Haram.
He said the first phase of the investigations revealed several sordid details, many of the assets of the culprits have been seized from them and they are facing trial.
He added, “The release of the sum of $289m in cash on February 25, 2015. Documents including cash vouchers indicated that the sum of $289,202,382 was taken from the Joint Venture Cash Call Account No. 000-0000-11658-366 of the NNPC/NAPIMS with JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA.
“N70bn was released in parts from the national treasury between January 8 and February 25, 2015.
“In another illegal disbursement on August 25, 2014, N60bn in cash, in tranches of N40bn and N20bn: the sum was not tied to any project or procurement and was then shared between two security agencies under the supervision of the then NSA.
“Most of these sums ended up in the hands of senior PDP members some of whom had returned parts of the loot. Some are standing trial for these offences. These facts are in the public domain.”
The presidential spokesman added that there was another set of illegal fund withdrawals under one week between January 8 and 16, 2015, where the sum of N1.5bn was released in three tranches of N300m, N400m and N800m respectively.
This money, he said, was released from the MEA Research Library Account.
“Another document showed that N10bn was released to the Office of the National Security Adviser by the Central Bank of Nigeria on September 15, 2014. The money was released in tranches of foreign exchange of $47m, $5m, 4m Euros and 1.6m Euros.
“A letter from the Office of the NSA in November 2014 further showed that the monies were released as ‘funds for special services.’ This particular release of N10bn was sourced in November 2014 from the N40bn released by the CBN for Corporate Social Responsibility. Investigations showed that this money was released for the PDP presidential primaries,” he added.
Akande said the then CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, was allegedly sacked for speaking up about the over $20bn missing from oil proceeds.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has justified the continued reference to the extent of corruption under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Osinbajo spoke at the 10th birthday colloquium held in Lagos in honour of a National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu.
According to him, there need to highlight what he described as grand corruption in the last administration because of the impact on the present state of the country’s economy.
“Nigeria is where it is today because of the corruption that was perpetrated by previous administration.
“We will talk about grand corruption, ” recalling the Yoruba proverb that translates thus: Frog says when discussion gets to the issue of tail, we should skip it. He says we must ensure Nigeria never takes such road (of corruption) again!.
” If we do not kill corruption, corruption will kill us,” Osinbajo stated.
While admitting that the best times of the country are yet to come in accordance with the change promised by the APC, Osinbajo said “we are getting better and better”
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has alleged that there are plans by some unnamed persons to smear his image.
Jonathan, who returned from Sierra Leone where he visited to promote democracy, said those behind the alleged plan are using both faceless and identified persons.
The former President raised the alarm through a post on his Facebook page, which was monitored by our correspondent.
Recall that Presidency sources had been dishing out information in the past few days on how money was allegedly shared during the 2015 general election under the leadership of Jonathan.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also claimed, last week, that about N10bn and $289m were also shared by the former President a few days to the elections.
Though Jonathan did not refer to either of the above, observers believe he could be referring to them and other figures that might be dished out as preparations towards the 2019 general elections gather momentum.
The former President said, “It has been brought to my attention that while I was away promoting democracy in Sierra Leone, a campaign was unleashed against me to falsely impugn my name using both faceless and identified persons.
“When I was in power, I said my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Even out of power, I continue to hold that belief.
“What I will say, however, is that no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth. “
The data analytics firm that worked on the Donald Trump election campaign was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state, witnesses have told the Guardian.
Multiple sources have described how senior directors of Cambridge Analytica – including its chief executive, Alexander Nix – gave staff instructions to handle material provided by computer hackers in election campaigns in Nigeria and St Kitts and Nevis.
They claim there were two episodes in 2015 that alarmed members of staff and led them to refuse to handle the data, which they assumed would have been obtained illegally.
SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, denied taking possession of or using hacked or stolen personal information from such individuals for any purpose in either campaign.
The revelations are the latest to focus attention on Cambridge Analytica, whose activities are being investigated in the US by the special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US presidential election.
How The Story Unfolded
The firm is under pressure to explain how it came to have unauthorised access to millions of Facebook profiles. Politicians in the US and UK have accused it of giving misleading statements about its work, and the information commissioner has demanded access to the company’s databases.
In all, the Guardian and Observer has spoken to seven individuals with knowledge of Cambridge Analytica and its campaign in Nigeria in early 2015.
Hired by a Nigerian billionaire to support the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan, Cambridge Analytica was paid an estimated £2m to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against his rival, the opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan lost out to Buhari in the presidential race. There is no suggestion Jonathan knew of the covert operation.
Staff working on the campaign say in early 2015 they met Israeli cybersecurity contractors in Cambridge Analytica’s offices in Mayfair, London. Employees say they were told the meeting was arranged by Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at the firm.
The Guardian and Observer have been told the Israelis brought a laptop from their office in Tel Aviv and handed employees a USB stick containing what they believed were hacked personal emails.
Sources said Nix, who was suspended on Tuesday, and other senior directors told staff to search for incriminating material that could be used to damage opposition candidates, including Buhari.
“It made everyone feel really uncomfortable,” said one source. “They wanted people to load it into their email programs.”
People “freaked out”, another employee said. “They wanted to have nothing to do with it.”
One member of the campaign team told the Guardian and Observer that the material they believed had been hacked included Buhari’s medical records.
“I’m 99% sure of that. Or if they didn’t have his medical records they at least had emails that referred to what was going on.”
When news of the London meeting filtered back to Cambridge Analytica staff working on the ground in Nigeria, it caused panic, the source said. Local security advisers told the firm’s team to leave the country immediately because if opposition supporters found out, they could turn on them.
“What is clear is that the security of their employees didn’t even seem to have occurred to them,” said one former employee. “It was a very serious situation and they had to evacuate immediately.”
An SCL Elections spokesperson said team members working on the Nigeria campaign remained in the country throughout the original campaigning period, and left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said his administration’s response to the February 19 abduction of 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State was better than the response of the last administration to a similar abduction in Chibok, Borno State.
He said while the Federal Government under his watch swung into action immediately after the abduction, the last administration looked the other way when the Chibok girls were abducted in 2014.
Buhari said these at a town hall meeting with traditional/community leaders and other stakeholders in Damaturu, Yobe State as part of activities lined up for his official visit to the state.
He said the commitment displayed by his administration had led to the rescue of more than 100 Chibok girls taken into captivity before he assumed office.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was in the saddle when the Chibok girls were abducted by the Boko Haram sect in 2014.
Buhari said, “The Federal Government’s response to the unfortunate abduction of the school girls is a clear departure from the insensitivity of the past administration which looked the other way while the Chibok girls were taken away in 2014 and held in captivity for over three years.
“Due to our commitment, over 100 Chibok girls have been rescued and reunited with their families, sent back to school and empowered with requisite skills.
“You may recall that recently, our negotiation efforts led to the release of abducted University of Maiduguri lecturers, some women police personnel, students and even an NYSC member.
“We, therefore, have no doubt that the Dapchi girls will be rescued or released. I can reassure parents, Nigerians and the International Community that we will do all that is within our power to make sure that the girls are brought back safely to their families.”
Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, will lead a team of observers to Sierra Leone’s general elections scheduled to take place on March 7.
Mr. Jonathan is scheduled to leave for Freetown on Friday as leader
of the Election Observation Mission of the Electoral Institute for
Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA).
A statement issued by the ex-president’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze, said Mr. Jonathan would be leading the mission which has observers drawn from civil society organisations and election management bodies from across the continent.
It said the former president is pleased to be part of the process “in support of a peaceful and transparent election in Sierra Leone.”
EISA is a not-for-profit election-focused organisation that is working with national, regional, Pan-African and global partners throughout the African continent. It is based in South Africa with field offices across the continent and has supported or observed over 100 electoral and political processes in Africa.
A statement from EISA notes that the mission’s assignment is in line with the organisation’s “vision of an African continent where democratic governance, human rights and citizen participation are upheld in a peaceful environment.”
In this regard, “EISA gives focus to the crucial role that election observation plays in promoting the transparency of electoral processes and lesson learning among nations. Consequently, EISA believes that international observers play a crucially supportive role in increasing public confidence and enhancing the credibility of the electoral process.”
Its work extends beyond electoral support to include other democracy and governance fields such as political party support, legislative strengthening and civil society engagement of the African Peer Review Mechanism. EISA has current and past field offices in countries like Burundi, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This reflects its broader geographical mandate and coverage.
Following the scandal that has dragged on for months between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and former minister for petroleum Alison Madueke, former first lady Patience Jonathan and other officials in the Jonathan administration, it is no news that the treasury was in a terrible state.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has however lamented that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari inherited an empty treasury from the Jonathan government. She also said Nigeria is the biggest loser of the 50 billion dollars illicit financial flows out of Africa annually.
Adeosun spoke at a tax conference organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York.
She said Nigeria had one of the lowest tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in the world at just six per cent.
She regretted that Nigeria also suffered from tax avoidance and evasion, saying Nigeria has no tax laws as the tax laws are poor and weak.
The minister said the nine months of amnesty given to tax defaulters through the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme to regularise their tax information would lapse in March 2018.
According to her, some foreign countries, including the UK, have commenced with Nigeria the Automatic Exchange of Tax Information.
She, however, lamented over the frustrations the Nigerian Government encountered in getting illicit funds stashed abroad repatriated to the country.
“On the part of the destination countries, the simple that we have from the developing nations perspective is: ‘why do they not ask questions when the money is coming in?
“And yet when we turn up and say this money was stolen, then they give you an entire questionnaire. We’ve battling with the Swiss on Abacha.
“Abacha loot sat in the Swiss Bank account, 320 million dollars, for 22 years. We’ve been battling through the courts and we still have more recent cases.”
In the never ending battle against corruption, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives have uncovered another withdrawal of $1.3 billion made by former Petroleum minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke on the directive of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
The money which was removed from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was neither authorized by the National Assembly nor the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Former Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is also believed to be unaware of the deductions.
Diezani Alison-Madueke is reported to have only relied on a memo from ex-President Goodluck Jonathan without recourse to the board of the NNPC.
A former Group Executive Director, Finance and Accounts of NNPC, Mr. Bernard Otti, has been quizzed by the EFCC over the money.
Otti is said to have also made available to the EFCC some documents, including approvals to withdraw the $1.3 billion by Mrs Alison-Madueke.
In two other instances, Jonathan wrote on two other requests mandating the former minister to take part of the cash from either NNPC Security Vote Account or from the “Gas Fund”.
According to reports, the cash was to fight kidnapping and other security threats in the Niger Delta, according to The Nation.
Jonathan, who had just returned from Monrovia after leading the National Democratic Institute (NDI) International Elections Observation Mission to Liberia, posted the goodwill message to Weah on his Facebook page, on Friday.
Jonathan, advised Weah to maintain his open door policy in his new position, saying “everybody is a winner when democracy wins, and democracy has won today”.
Weah, a retired international footballer and standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) was declared winner on Friday after the Boxing Day run-off polls by Liberia’s national electoral commission.
Jonathan also commended Liberians for demonstrating the willingness to give democracy a
“Throughout my political life, I have lived by the creed that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of their citizens.
“I am most grateful to the nation of Liberia and especially the candidates, Weah and Mr Joseph Boakai, for living up to this creed.
“As co-leader of the NDI International Elections Observation Mission to Liberia for these elections, I salute the zest for democracy of the Liberian people.”
Jonathan and other leaders of the NDI delegation had in a preliminary
statement issued in Monrovia on Thursday, acclaimed the polls as peaceful, orderly and well-organized.
Speaking of his experienced on the field on voting day, Jonathan said: “I am proud of Liberians, who have come from crisis to democracy and have shown themselves to be a model of peace and stability in the region.
“Democracy goes beyond election day, and if Liberia succeeds, West Africa succeeds, Africa succeeds, and the world succeeds.”
In the same vein, Kosovo’s former President Atifete Jahjaga, also congratulated the people of Liberia for exercising their right to vote and for making a historic step towards the consolidation of democracy in their country.
“It is my hope that the positive trends that we have observed during this election will be sustained and further improved during future elections.”
In a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari on his 75th birthday.
The statement read, “I wish to most sincerely congratulate you on your 75th birthday. My family and I are pleased to join your numerous well wishers to felicitate with you as you mark this day.
“Your Excellency, you are a statesman whose place in history as Nigeria’s leader, at different epochs in our nation’s development journey, is guaranteed.
“I pray that God Almighty that has kept you alive and healthy will continue to protect and strengthen you as you lend your efforts to the bid to realize our collective dreams for a greater and more prosperous nation.