Metuh to EFCC: I’d rather starve than refund N400m
Detectives have hit a stalemate in their bid to recover the N400 million traced to a company in which Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Olisa Metuh has a stake.
He is said to have told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that he would rather go on hunger strike than refund the money, which is believed to be part of the $2.1 billion arms cash allegedly diverted at the Office National Security Adviser (ONSA).
EFCC chair Ibrahim Magu, who revealed Metuh’s position yesterday in Lagos, stressed that the war against corruption had just begun.
Speaking during a meeting with online reporters, Magu vowed to bring corrupt elements to justice, explaining that the looting of the nation’s treasury “is mind boggling”.
He said former Military Administrator of Kaduna State Brig.-Gen.Jafaru Isa had refunded N100 million of the N160million he collected from the ONSA.
The ex-governorship candidate of the Congress of Progressives Change (CPC), who was arrested and released after being quizzed, he added, had undertaken to refund the balance.
He said former President Goodluck Jonathan would not be invited over the $2.1billion arms deals because memos and documents on the disbursement of the money were not approved for political campaigns.
Magu explained that former Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Patrick Akpobolokemi was re-arrested by EFCC operatives outside the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, after it was found that he was involved in an alleged embezzlement of N34.5 billion and N600 million in the maritime agency.
He was said to have jumped bail and the lawyer who stood surety for him was arrested.
Speaking on why EFCC cases get stuck, Magu blamed lawyers, saying: “When a politician steals N10 billion, he keeps N5 billion for litigation. He hires Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). Judges accuse us of not conducting thorough investigation in order to compromise.”
Also yesterday, a former minister, Chief Jim Nwobodo, explained how he disbursed the N100 million he received from former PDP National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu, whose whereabouts the EFCC does not know. He denied ever collecting money from Col. Sambo Dasuki who he said he had never met.
Nwobodo, who spoke exclusively with our correspondent, said: “I have never met Dasuki in my life. I don’t know Dasuki. Ex-Minister Bashir Yuguda I know, just as a former minister like any Nigerian.
“I got N100million for campaign purposes and not N500million. I did not receive the money from either Dasuki or Yuguda. The money I received was from a former National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu. I gave the list of the disbursement according to states to the party.
A statement by John Okoreni on behalf of Nwobodo said: “The attention of Senator (Dr.) Jim Nwobodo has been drawn to news items where it was mentioned that he received the sum of one hundred million naira (N100, 000,000) from Bashir Yuguda, ex-Minister of State for Finance for the purpose of the last presidential election.
“Senator (Dr.) Jim Nwobodo states as follows: That he was the chairman of the Contact Committee of the PDP Presidential campaign for the South East Zone
“The Committee was appointed by the party and inaugurated by its then National Chairman, Dr. Adamu Mu’azu
“That the Committee oversaw the five states of the Zone, namely: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo State
“Members of the Committee were three for each state; Senator Jim Nwobodo, Chairman (Enugu), Chief Onyema Ogochukwu, Secretary (Abia), Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe (Abia), Senator Adolphus Wabara (Abia), Prof. A.B.C. Nwosu (Anambra), Senator Ben Ndi Obi (Anambra), Senator Joy Emodi (Anambra), Ambassador Frank Ogbuweu (Ebonyi), Senator Ben Collins Ndu (Enugu), Ambassador Fidel Ayogu (Enugu), Chief Emmanuel Iwanyanwu (Imo), Chief Achike Udenwa (Imo) and Chief Innocent Nwoga (Imo).
“That the only fund received by the committee for its work in the five South-Eastern states was N100million and the money was received from the then National Chairman of PDP, Dr. Adamu Muazu, for logistics, travelling, mobilization of party members in the zone for the presidential election.
“That the fund was properly disbursed to the states and duly signed by members of the Committee for each State and accounted for to the party.
“That at no time did Senator Jim Nwobodo receive the money from any person other than the then National Chairman of the party.
“That it would be unusual for Senator Nwobodo and other members of his committee to query the source of the campaign fund coming from the National Chairman of his party for official functions and purposes.
“This statement is meant to put the records straight and correct the impression making round in the media on the alleged distribution of money by Bashir Yuguda as it concerns Senator Nwobodo.”