PTDF INVESTIGATION: N20bn PTDF fund missing; President Obasanjo Took N10bn PTDF Money for 3rd Term, Says VP Atiku

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Mobolaji ALUKO

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Dec 19, 2006, 8:29:42 AM12/19/06
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Dear Colleagues:
 
If you can wade through the six or so newspaper reports below about Atiku's testimony before the Nigerian Senate yesterday, you should.  Each report contains a tit-bit that maybe another one does not have, and will present a full picture of the damning accusations.
 
I doubt if the Fat Person has fully sung yet..
 
 
Bolaji Aluko
 


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PUNCH

N20bn PTDF fund missing

By Oluwole Josiah and John Alechenu, Abuja
Published: Tuesday, 19 Dec 2006

The Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Monday said that about N20bn belonging to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund got missing during the debate on third term tenure for President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said the President approved the vote for the PTDF but that what it was used for remained unknown.

Abubakar, who made these startling revelations while testifying before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the PTDF, said Obasanjo should be held liable for the mismanagement of funds in the agency.

Abubakar, who arrived the Senate Hearing Room One at about 11.25am, was allowed to use a special seat prepared by his security aides.

He was flanked by his son, Adamu, and many of his aides and supporters during his presentation.

While denying all the allegations made against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the VP said the real culprits in the PTDF scandal were the President and his cronies.

"Distinguished Senators, on the 10th of May 2006, at the height of the evil tenure elongation plot, the PTDF requested, under circumstances that were at best cloudy, for N20bn for its project as well as the immediate release of N10bn. The request was made by the PTDF management and approved by the President on the same day.

"There is no evidence that the N20bn was released to the PTDF. And there is nothing to indicate that the approval of the Federal Executive Council was sought and obtained for both amounts. You may wish to investigate what happened to the N20bn. Where was it placed, and what was it used for?

"As at December 2005, the PTDF had N20bn and $150m in fixed deposit, N533m and $6.3m in a current account. Five months after, only N12.9bn remained of the N20bn.

"You may want to find out how that money was expended, and what happened to the foreign exchange component.

"You should request the Auditor-General's Report on the PTDF from January to June 2006. That audit report is quite revealing and I believe that your investigations will not be complete without it.

"Please ask the Department of Petroleum Resources to provide data on all the monies realised from the oil block bidding rounds since 1999.

"You should ask the Central Bank of Nigeria to disclose how much was paid into the PTDF Consolidated Account since 1999.

"You should also obtain from the CBN data on all lodgements in and withdrawals from the PTDF Consolidated Account since 1999 and who authorised such withdrawals. It may also help you to request the Budget Office to provide you with the PTDF contributions to the national budget since 1999."

He explained that no PTDF money was lost during the period he supervised the fund, saying instead, the fund made more money through deposits in commercial banks in form of interest.

According to Abubakar, several approvals for the use of PTDF funds were made by the President contrary to the PTDF Act of 1973.

He said the funds were used for purposes other than those for which the PTDF was established.

He added, "In August 2006, the President approved the sum of $25m from the Fund for the establishment of a so-called African Institute of Science and Technology, Gulf of Guinea Affiliate, in Abuja. The money was released. Distinguished senators may wish to investigate and find out to whom the money was paid, and where such institute is located. More importantly, there is no enabling law setting up the institute and no money was appropriated by the National Assembly for it.

"In September 2006, the President approved the payment of N250m from the PTDF to his personal lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, of Emmanuel Chambers, for the mere act of registering a company, Galaxy Backbone, with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

"With the share capital of N1bn, the actual amount paid to the CAC is N23m. Distinguished senators, is the establishment and funding of Galaxy Backbone within the mandate of PTDF? Is it justifiable for a President who claims to be fighting corruption to authorise the payment of N250m of public funds to his personal lawyer for the mere registration of a company?"

Abubakar also noted that the President ordered the release of $10m from the PTDF funds for the purchase of computers under the Computers for All Nigerians Initiative.

He said that as laudable as the initiative was, the PTDF was not the right agency with the capacity to organise, manage and support a revolving loan for the ownership of computers by civil servants.

The VP also revealed that about N9m of PTDF funds was used for the printing of photographs and a book chronicling the achievements of the Obasanjo administration for the State House Library.

He said the requests and approvals were contained in two letters written by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Mrs. Remi Oyo.

He presented copies of the signed approvals to the committee.

He said, "The PTDF, in absolute and flagrant violation of its mandate, was directed to dole out N1bn to the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria even as this investigation had commenced.

"This payment was made via a Prudent Bank cheque dated October 10, 2006. And the N1bn is being spent for one of the President's vanity projects: naming a gun after himself, the so-called OBJ 006.

"I have always advocated the resuscitation of the DICON and the repositioning of the Nigerian Armed Forces in general, but it is clearly illegal to do so with PTDF resources."

The vice-president also alleged that the PTDF contracts were awarded to companies owned by members of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He alleged that some of the companies were not registered with the CAC.

Abubakar insisted that the Marine Float account was one of the three companies that were placed at the disposal of the PDP and the Obasanjo/Atiku Campaign Organisation to receive campaign contributions and donations towards securing re-election during the elections of 2003.

He, however, denied any business relations with the NDTV, to which loans were allegedly advanced by Trans International Bank, using PTDF deposits.

But a principal witness of the EFCC and a founding Director of the NDTV, Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, told the Senate committee that Abubakar was aware of the activities of the NDTV and had at one time assured officials of the company of his support.

Although he could not produce any document to substantiate his claims, Kachikwu averred that the PTDF funds were used to make payments for the contract agreement between the company and iGate, its partners in the United States of America.

Kachikwu accused one of the Senate committee members, Senator Titus Olupitan, of picking on him because of his relationship with Chief Oyewole Fasawe.

Kachikwu said, "You (pointing at the senator), are part of the family; you were always at Fasawe's house, you should know me."

He also told the committee that he met the vice-president along with other members of the company, first in the VP's country home in Jada, and in his office at the Villa.


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VANGUARD

OBJ spent N10bn PTDF fund on 3rd term project — ATIKU
By Emmanuel Aziken & Ayodele Adegbuyi
Posted to the Web: Tuesday, December 19, 2006

* Registered company for N250m
* Spent N1bn on special gun 'OBJ 006'
*  VP asks Senate to probe expenditure of N20bn, $150m

ABUJA — VICE-PRESIDENT Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, told the Senate ad-hoc Committee investigating the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF)  how the Fund released N10 billion ostensibly to fund the aborted third term project, and how he (Atiku) saved the organisation N1.074 billion.

In a 78-minute submission to the Senate Committee, Vice-President Atiku affirmed that the allegations against him were part of a political conspiracy directed against  his 2007 presidential aspirations, and alleged that the withdrawal of N10 billion from the PTDF was to fund the aborted third term project.

Declaring that no fund was lost or misused during his supervision of the PTDF, the VP said the organisation had now been turned into a cash cow for the President's  vanity projects and a source for the enrichment of his (Obasanjo's) aides.

He cited presidential spokesperson, Mrs. Remi Oyo; Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), the President's lawyer; members of the PDP National Working Committee, newly  appointed National Security Adviser, Gen. Mukthar Sarki; Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Minister of FCT; Mr. Akin Oshuntokun, Political Adviser to the President as  some of the close associates of the President who recently benefitted from mouth watering contracts from the agency.

Mr. Oshuntokun in a sharp reaction denied the allegation, saying the books of the agency were open.

Denying allegations that he used his family to siphon government funds, Atiku said he and his family resolved not to be involved in government contracts.
He, nevertheless, admitted giving his friend, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, a loan of N30 million from the Obasanjo/Atiku campaign fund which was used for the part  acquisition of the Abuja headquarters of Fasawe's NDTV.

The Vice-President who took his oath by affirmation at exactly 11.34 a.m. was commended by committee members for his gesture in appearing before the committee  and was appropriately dignified with the provision of a special settee where he sat to give his testimony.

Political associates of the Vice-President including Second Republic Governor of old Kano State, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi; National Chairman of the Action Congress  (AC), Chief Bisi Akande; National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu; Director-General of his campaign organisation, Dr. Iyorcha Ayu; former Minister for  Special Duties, Mr. Yomi Edu witnessed the testimony.

Also present with him was his eldest son, Adamu, who was alleged by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu  Ribadu, to be a beneficiary of the alleged sleaze in the PTDF through his directorship of one of the companies involved in the reported scam.

On the investment of the initial $125 million project funds of the agency in banks, he said: "I was persuaded by the reasonable argument of the Executive Secretary  that investing these funds at the rates prevailing in the money market at that time would yield to the coffers of the PTDF a sum of approximately N1.235 billion as  against N161 million were the investment not approved.

"Mr. Chairman, what sins has Atiku Abubakar committed in assenting to the request of an agency he oversees to maximize its potential for realising the objectives for  which it was established? Am I to be crucified for my actions in making the PTDF to earn N1.235 billion as against N161 million it would have earned by my  actions?" the Vice-President asked.

Expressing shock at the allegation of the EFCC that he unilaterally approved $20 million for the agency, he said: "I am astonished, shocked and filled with indignation  to hear claims that I acted unilaterally in approving a sum such as this. For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state categorically that I discussed this matter with the  President in person and he did not object. It was within this context and the global approval already given by the President to fund and implement the PTDF's  programme of action that I gave the approval for this $20 million."

Affirming the aptness of his actions, he said: "Others may seek to castigate Atiku Abubakar for whatever selfish aims they may have but I am proud to say that at the  time I ceased to exercise oversight functions over the PTDF upon the directive of the President, the PTDF had over N20 billion and $150 million in fixed deposits  and over N533 million and $6.2 million in current accounts, respectively, with several commercial banks in Nigeria."

While acquitting himself of wrongdoing in the management of PTDF funds, the Vice-President said the contrary had become the case with the agency now turning into  a milk cow for the President and his close associates.

He cited among others, the withdrawal of N10 billion from the PTDF at the height of what he described as the evil plot to sustain Obasanjo's tenure by another term.

His words: "On the 10th of May 2006, at the height of the evil tenure elongation plot, the PTDF requested, under circumstances that were at best cloudy, for N20  billion for its projects as well as the immediate release of N10 billion. The request was made by the PTDF management and approved by the President on the same  day. There is no evidence that the N20 billion was  not released to the PTDF, and there is nothing to indicate that the approval of the Federal Executive Council was  sought and obtained for both amounts. You may wish to investigate what happened to the N20 billion. Where was it placed, and what was it used for.

"As at December 2005, the PTDF had N20 billion and $150 million in fixed deposit, N533 million and $6.3 million in its current account. Five months after, only  N12.9 billion  remained of the N20 billion. You may want to find out how that money was expended, and what happened to the foreign exchange component", he  said.

He also cited what he described as other irregularities he claimed were now going on in the PTDF. "In September 2006, the President approved the payment of the  sum of N250 million from the PTDF to his personal lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, of Emmanuel Chambers, for the mere act of registering a company, Galaxy  Backbone, with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

"With a share capital of one billion naira, the actual amount paid to the Corporate Affairs Commission is N23 million. Distinguished Senators, is the establishment and  funding of Galaxy Backbone within the mandate of PTDF? Is it justifiable for a President who claims to be fighting corruption to authorise the payment of N250  million of public fund to his personal lawyer for the mere registration of a company?

"The PTDF, in absolute and flagrant violation of its mandate, was directed to dole out one billion naira to the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON)  even as this investigation had commenced. This payment was made via a Prudent Bank Cheque dated October 10, 2006. And the one billion naira is being spent for  one of the President's vanity projects: naming a gun after himself, the so called OBJ 006.

"You may also want to know that contracts were awarded from the PTDF on 17 July, 2006 to companies many of which are suspected to belong to members of the  National Working Committee of the PDP to induce them to support the President's total destruction of internal democracy within the PDP. You will also discover in  your investigations that some of the companies to which these contracts were awarded were not even duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

"As further evidence of the abuse to which the PTDF has been subjected by the very people accusing me of wrongdoing, companies linked to such aides of the  President as his current Political Adviser, Ministers such as those of the FCT and Science and Technology; and a long list of his close political associates, were  favoured with mouth-watering contracts from the PTDF. Millions of naira have also been doled out by the PTDF management for some phoney community relations  consultancy. In order that he is not left out of the party, the new National Security Adviser is currently being processed as an external solicitor to the PTDF through  his own legal firm, A.S. Mukhtar and Company. I urge you, distinguished Senators, to investigate these thoroughly.

"As a further example of the gross abuse of PTDF funds, the President's media office is on production of progress reports and payment for photographs for the State  House library", the VP said.

Following his submission, the Vice-President took questions from the Senate panel.

On the allegation that he gave N30 million to Otunba Fasawe, he said: "It is true, Mr. Chairman, that Otunba Fasawe approached me for a loan of N30 million and  the N30 million was not provided from PTDF funds, it was provided from one of the campaign account funds. The EFCC traced it to one of the PDP campaign  account funds."

On his family connection with government, he said: "The EFCC went, took all my accounts, took the accounts of my wives, took the accounts of my children, all in  this investigation. Of course, they took one of my wives' company accounts which is Minab which the chairman (Ribadu) mentioned and my wife signs as Fati Turaki  and that company did not have anything to do with PTDF or any of these issues that are being investigated.

"I have always said that I am the most investigated Vice President in this world, all in an attempt to persecute me. If I can work as the VicePresident for eight years  and all that you can find against me is that I authorised the placement of deposit in a bank, then I don't know what you have got.

"Ever since I joined government, none of my family members has been involved in any government transaction. They are all in the private sector and we do not need  government to survive. I sat down with my family and agreed that none of them would partake in any government contract", he said.

Before the Vice-President testified, Managing Director of Equitorial Trust Bank, Mr. Ikechukwu Orakwetu, denied any malfeasance on the part of the bank and  challenged the EFCC to prove any loan from the bank to Globacom. He also denied that Otunba Mike Adenuga was the chairman of the bank.


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THIS DAY

Atiku: Obasanjo Took N10bn PTDF Money for 3rd Term

From Sufuyan Ojeifo in Abuja, 12.19.2006

The ill-fated third term agenda re-echoed yesterday in Abuja at the public sitting of the Senate Committee on Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) when Vice President Atiku Abubakar alleged that President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the immediate release of N10 billion in the thick of the battle to push the agenda in the National Assembly.

Atiku, whose one-hour and 17-minute appearance before the 13-member committee headed by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) was characterised by humour and friendly exchanges between him and members, tasked the committee to investigate what happened to the money.

According to him, "on the 10th of May, 2006, at the height of the evil tenure elongation plot, the PTDF requested, under circumstances that were at best cloudy, for N20 billion for its projects as well as the immediate release of N10 billion.

"The request was made by the PTDF management and approved by the President on the same day. There is no evidence that the N20 billion was released to the PTDF, and there is nothing to indicate that the approval of the Federal Executive Council was sought and obtained for both amounts.
"You may wish to investigate into the N20 billion. Where was it placed, and what was it used for? he asked. "As at December 2005, the PTDF had N20 billion and 150 million dollars in fixed deposit, N533 million and 6.3 million dollars in its current account".

According to Atiku, "you may want to find out how that money was expended, and what happened to the foreign exchange component? You should request for the Auditor-General's Report on the PTDF from January to June 2006.  That audit report is quite revealing and I believe that your investigations will not be complete without it".

 Atiku, who told the committee that he was not guilty of any wrong doing, arrived at the venue of the public sitting in Senate Hearing Room One at 11.25 a.m., after his advance security team had taken adequate security measures in and around the premises of the venue.

 He was accompanied by some of his political associates, including Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Chief Dubem Onyia, Mr. Yomi Edu, Chief Gbazuegu Nweke Gbazueagu, Alhaji Abubakar Hashidu, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu and Dr. Usman Bugaje, among others.

 Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ndoma-Egba welcomed the Vice President and put it on record that he was the one who wrote to indicate his willingness to appear before the Committee an act, which he said was courageous.

He gave a background to the Senate investigation of the PTDF activities and told the Vice President that the Committee Secretariat had made photocopies of the presentation by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Nuhu Ribadu ready in case he (Atiku) requested for it. "As I speak, I am not sure any request has come from you, but you are still at liberty to have them.

"If you are ready, please tell us so that you can be on oath", Ndoma-Egba said. The Vice President said he was ready, and the oath was administered on him at 11.35 a.m. to set the tone for his presentation, which began at 11.38 and ended at 12.35 p.m. He read from a 14-page booklet titled: "PTDF: The Facts, The Fiction: A Presentation to Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Investigations into the Affairs of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund".

 But before he made his presentation, his aides had submitted a small box of documents, comprising annexure and appendices referred to in his presentation, to each member of the Committee. His presentation was as revealing as the documents submitted as annexure and appendices to the committee.  Having given insight into the PTDF and its operations under his supervision, he had gone ahead to address all allegations against him in the EFCC report. Under the sub-title, "PTDF-A beehive of Irregularities", the Vice President stated: "As you can see, I am a victim of a well-orchestrated and vicious smear campaign aimed, principally, at preventing me from offering myself for service to the nation at the highest level.

"To conclude my presentation, it is necessary for me to provide you with an insight into the activities of the PTDF in recent times for you to see for yourselves the irregularities, mismanagement and outright looting that now characterises the operations of the PTDF.

 "Here, you will find evidence of PTDF resources being diverted to schemes and activities that are not only unbudgeted for but also clearly outside the mandate of the Fund in line with its governing statutes. Indeed, the PTDF has, in recent times, been turned into a slush fund for all manner of inexplicable transactions for the convenience of the very people who falsely accuse me of wrongdoing".

 According to the Vice President, "PTDF monies are now regularly and whimsically doled out to individuals, groups and causes that catch their fancy.  A few examples will suffice. Establishment of an Institute of Science and Technology in the FCT: In August 2006, the President approved the sum of US$25 million from the Fund for the establishment of a so-called African Institute of Science and Technology, Gulf of Guinea Affiliate, in Abuja.

"The money was released.  Distinguished Senators may wish to investigate and find out to whom the money was paid, and where such institute is located.  More importantly, there is no enabling law setting up the Institute and no money was appropriated by the National Assembly for it (see appendices 11a, 11b, and 11c)".

On the Registration of Galaxy Backbone Plc and Payment of Legal Fees, the Vice President said: "In September 2006, the President approved the payment of the sum of N250 million from the PTDF to his personal lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola of Emmanuel Chambers, for the mere act of registering a company, Galaxy Backbone, with the Corporate Affairs Commission (see appendices 12a, 12b, and 12c). With a share capital of one billion naira, the actual amount paid to the Corporate Affaires Commission is N23 million.  Distinguished Senators, is the establishment and funding of Galaxy Backbone within the mandate of PTDF? Is it justifiable for a President who claims to be fighting corruption to authorise the payment of N250 million of public funds to his personal lawyer for the mere registration of a company?"

On Purchase of Computers for Civil Servants, he stated: "You may also wish to note that on July 28, 2006 the President approved the sum of ten million dollars from the PTDF fund for the purchase of computers under the Computers for All Nigerians Initiative (CANI) (see appendices 13a, 13b, 13c, 13d).

"As laudable as CANI may be, the question should still be asked whether PTDF is the right government agency with the capacity to organise, manage and support a revolving loan for the ownership of computers by civil servants. 

"And considering the need for legislative oversight for such major project, why was this programme not included in the normal budgetary process?"

Other alleged irregularities, according to him, include: "Note Purchase Agreement Between UBA and other Banks and PTDF: Distinguished Senators may also want to look into the scandalous lending of billions of naira of PTDF money to the United Bank of Africa (UBA) from which, strangely, the Federal Government then borrowed to buy vehicles (see appendix 14).

"It is also interesting that the President went on to draw a personal loan of N200 million from the UBA, which according to his spokespersons, was used to purchase the 200 million shares he owns in Transcorp. We hope that this N200 million 'loaned' to the President is not a trade-off for the deposit, which he approved for the bank. Distinguished members of this Committee may wish to investigate this".

On PTDF Bank Deposits and Interest Rates, he said, "I was accused of authorising the deposit of PTDF funds in a bank without the approval of Federal Executive Council.  Distinguished Senators, as at 31st May 2006, the PTDF had nearly N19 billion deposited in various banks in the country.  It may interest you to note that there was no Federal Executive Council approval for these deposits, which buttresses my point that I did not require any additional approval for the deposit authorised by me (see appendix 15).

"Approval Limit for Expenditure of PTDF funds: Distinguished Senators, in trying to find out who has been mismanaging PTDF funds, it may interest you to note that on 4th April 2006, without recourse to the Federal executive Council, the President raised the limit of the amount of money that the Executive Secretary of PTDF can approve from N700,000 to N10,000,000 (see appendix 16).  This new approval limit seems to have provided an opportunity for a renewed assault on the resources of the Fund.

"Contract Award to PDP National Working Committee Members: You may also want to know that contracts were awarded from the PTDF on 17 July, 2006 to companies many of which are suspected to belong to members of the National Working Committee of the PDP to induce them to support the President's total destruction of internal democracy within the PDP. You will also discover in your investigations that some of the companies to which these contracts were awarded were not even duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (see appendices 17a and 17b).

"PTDF Contracts for the President's Aides and Cronies: "As further evidence of the abuse to which the PTDF has been subjected by the very people accusing me of wrong-doing, companies linked to such aides of the President as his current Political Adviser, Ministers such as those of the FCT and Science and Technology; and a long list of his close political associates, were favoured with mouth-watering contracts from PTDF.

"Millions of naira have also been doled out by the PTDF management for some phoney community relations consultancy.  "In order that he is not left out of the party, the new National Security Adviser is currently being processed as an external solicitor to the PTDF through his own legal firm, A.S. Mukhtar and Company. I urge you, distinguished Senators, to investigate these thoroughly (see appendices 18a, 18b, 18c, 18d, 18e, 18f).

"Progress Report on Obasanjo Administration and Photographs for State House Library: As a further example of the gross abuse of PTDF funds, the President's Media Office is on production of progress reports and payment for photographs for the State House Library (see appendix 19a, 19b, 19c, 19d).

"Award of Contracts for ICT Projects: Distinguished Senators may also note that in August 2006, a Federal Executive Council memo was presented for approval for the award of contracts for the establishment of ICT centres in 102 Unity Schools, 20 Federal Colleges of Education and 24 Universities.

"However, Council did not know that these contracts worth billions of naira and over US$20 million were awarded mostly to the aides and cronies of the President.

"Earlier on, on the 24th of February 2006, the President approved the sum of N2.5 billion for the supply of so-called 'Skill G' science and technology equipment to senior secondary schools, technical colleges, and polytechnics/colleges of technology. You may also wish to find out whether these projects are within the PTDF mandate (see appendices 20a, 20b, 20c and 20d).

"DICON Rehabilitation Account: The PTDF, in absolute and flagrant violation of its mandate, was directed to dole out N1 billion to the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) even as this investigation had commenced. This payment was made via a Prudent Bank cheque dated October 10, 2006. And the N1 billion is being spent for one of the President's vanity projects: naming a gun after himself, the so-called OBJ 006.  I have always advocated the resuscitation of the DICON and the repositioning of the Nigerian Armed Forces in general but it is clearly illegal to do so with PTDF resources (see appendices 21a and 21b).

"Purchase of Vehicles: Distinguished Senators may recall that this administration took a decision to do away with all categories of official vehicles, except those meant for essential services that are to be placed under a common pool.

"In violation of this same policy, in May 2006, the President granted the PTDF an approval to purchase 6 units of Toyota Corolla, a unit of Peugeot 407 and a Toyota Hilux at a cost of N41 million. The Toyotas and Peugeot were designated as official vehicles, and allocated to officials of the agency as official vehicles (see appendices 22a, 22b and 22c).

"Inflation of Contracts and Frivolous Rehabilitation of PTDF Headquarters: The management of the PTDF spent a whopping N60 million on the purported rehabilitation of its headquarters in 2006. This includes N36 million expenditure to procure a lift for the two-storey building. The expenses also include the cost of putting Jacuzzi in the PTDF Headquarters".

The Vice President added: "It may interest you to know that some of these actions which I have itemised here have been retroactively approved by the Federal Executive Council in recent days. This shows the depth of contempt in which the Senate is held by my accusers.

"In fact, some of these illegal actions were brought to Council for ratification on November 1st, 2006, the very day that the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee was supposed to commence sitting but for the unfortunate ADC plane crash. This frantic and desperate effort to retroactively ratify PTDF's transactions after the Senate began its investigations is itself an admission of wrong-doing by my accusers.

"As you know, an action that is ipso facto, illegal, especially in matters of appropriation, which the Constitution has wisely placed in the domain of the National Assembly, cannot be justified or legalised by mere FEC approval or ratification (see appendices 23a, 23b, and 23c)."

Atiku, who said that no money of the Fund was lost through his actions while he supervised the PTDF, thrice declared to the Committee that the allegations made against him and the actions orchestrated by the Presidency were all aimed at scuttling his 2007 presidential aspiration.

He said: "Let me also point out that you can only fully understand why these allegations have been made against me by locating them within the context of the political persecution that I have been subjected to by the President and his people in the last few years.

"These include the sacking and/or harassment of my aides, friends and associates, my being portrayed on national television by the President as disloyal, the persistent and illegal use of security agents to raid and ransack my campaign office and my bank records, my illegal suspension from the PDP and the orchestrated, persistent, and dangerous denigration of the Office of the Vice President".

He said at the outset of his presentation that the EFCC, without any just cause had accused him of conspiracy, fraudulent conversion of funds, corrupt practices and money laundering, adding that "in relying on the report of the EFCC, the FEC (of which, by virtue of my position, I am Vice Chairman) has purportedly found me guilty of fraud and embezzlement, all in a bid to satisfy the callous and mischievous aims of those who seek to rely on the provisions of Section 137 (1) (i) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 to prevent me from contesting the presidency of our great nation or any election for that matter under the said constitution".

While rebutting the EFCC allegations, he described them as "spurious and irresponsible", adding that he was making his presentation to "clear the web of lies, deceit, duplicity and falsehood that has been spun around this matter in the past few weeks; to clear my name and restore honour and dignity to the Office of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria".

He said that in February for instance the Technical Implementation Committee (TIC) through its Chair, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, presented a memo requesting for the approval of funds to be transferred to the PTDF from the bid proceeds of the current licensing rounds, as provided by law, to fund and sustain the activities of the PTDF in line with the specific projects outlined in the programme of action (see appendix 3).

"The President-in-Council approved this memo and authorised the transfer of the sum of US$125 million to the PTDF for the funding and sustenance of the Fund as requested.  It is necessary to point out here that the 'specific projects' referred to above (as contained in the programme of action) are mostly projects that are open ended in scope in that they are projects which the PTDF will continue to implement for as long as it remains in existence.
"More importantly, it is also necessary to point out that contrary to the erroneous and misleading impressions created by the EFCC, the sum of US$125 million approved to be transferred to the PTDF was to be added to, and to form part of, its capital to be invested and the income accruing thereon be expended in funding the PTDF activities.

"It was in the light of this that the Executive Secretary of the PTDF wrote to me on 29th April 2003 (see appendix 4) to seek my approval to convert the approved sum of US$125 million from foreign currency (where interest yields were about 1 to 1,5 per cent per annum) into naira (where interest yields were about 14 to 15 per cent per annum) and invest this in the money market in Nigeria with Equitorial Trust Bank, Plc, and Trans International Bank. Plc, respectively, to maximise the yield accruing from the funds.

"It is pertinent to note, as can be seen from paragraph 3 of appendix 4, that the Executive Secretary stated clearly in his memo that 'a substantial portion of PTDF's funds were already invested in the local money market'.  As a matter of fact, the PTDF at that time had various money market investments with at least 14 commercial banks in Nigeria.

"It is also pertinent to note that both ETB and TIB were, at all material times, on the Accountant-General's list of banks authorised to receive government funds and deposits".

The Vice President said that he was persuaded by the "reasonable argument of the Executive Secretary that investing these funds at the rates prevailing in the money market at that time would yield to the coffers of the PTDF a sum of approximately N1.235 billion as against N161 million were the investment not approved.

"Mr. Chairman, what sins has Atiku Abubakar committed in assenting to the request of an agency he oversees to maximise its potentials for realising the objectives for which it was established?  Am I to be crucified for my actions in making the PTDF to earn N1,235 billion as against N161 million it would have earned by my inaction?

"Need I mention, Mr. Chairman, that the funds invested with ETB have been returned to the PTDF on the due date together with the interest accruing thereon?  In the same vein, the funds invested with TIB (now part of the Spring Bank consortium) have been restructured due to the banking consolidation exercise and repayment has already commenced (see appendix 5)".

Atiku told the Committee that "In addition to the above, the EFCC has mischievously alluded to my approval of an additional US$20 million as funding for the PTDF's activities as an unauthorised transaction.

"Firstly, as I have said repeatedly about this matter, I approved this additional sum of US$20 million for the PTDF based on the Executive Secretary's memo in which he informed me that the additional funds were required to achieve uniformity and geo-political spread in the implementation of the projects that they were then undertaking.

"Secondly, it is quite misleading to say that this transaction was unauthorised. I am astonished, shocked and filled with indignation to hear claims that I acted unilaterally in approving a sum such as this. For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state categorically that I discussed this mater with President in person and he did not object.

 "It was within this context and global approval already given by the President to fund and implement the PTDF's programme of action that I gave the approval for this US$20 million. In any event, this disbursement was authenticated by the Honourable Minister if Finance (se appendix 6).
"In other words, contrary to the baseless, specious, irresponsible and insulting claims of the EFCC in its report, no funds have been 'embezzled' since the entire funds invested with the two banks have either been repaid or are now being repaid. This is not taking into account the huge interest that has accrued and been paid in respect of these deposits".

The Vice President also spoke on the ETB/Globacom/Otunba Mike Adenuga; TIB/NDTV/Mofas Shipping/Otunba Johnson Fasawe; Marine Float and the EFCC/Administrative Panel of Inquiry, stressing in respect to the latter that "I will say, however, that it is extremely curious to me that it is this time that the President would deem it necessary to set up an 'Administrative Panel of Inquiry' to look into a report compiled by the EFCC, especially where no public funds have been lost.

"When the same EFCC compiled a damning report alleging widespread fraud and embezzlement of over N53 billion of public funds from the Nigerian Ports Authority, the President did not deem it necessary to set up any Administrative Panel of Inquiry.

"It is also very curious to me that the very same President who has publicly accused his Vice President of disloyalty sees nothing wrong in appointing his cronies to sit in judgment over the supposedly disloyal Vice President and expect that a fair hearing will be conducted therefrom".

He said: "In concluding this part of presentation, I would like to state categorically that the findings of the EFCC as contained in its report dated 24th August 2006 and the contents of the reports of the so-called 'Administrative Panel of Inquiry' based on the EFCC report, as they purport to relate or refer to me, are totally false, baseless and unsupportable by the facts in this matter (and) I would urge you to address your minds accordingly and consign these reports to the dustbin where they belong".

He continued: "Having now seen how the PTDF has been abused in recent times by those who have falsely accused me, it is important that you consider ways in which the National Assembly can strengthen the procedures for accessing the Fund and provide strong sanctions for the disregard of those rules and procedures. You may consider amending the PTDF Act to take care of our changed priorities as the National Assembly may deem appropriate".
In the course of cross-examination, the Vice President made clarifications that his son, Adamu Atiku Abubakar is not a director of Moffas and that the committee can check the records with the Corporate Affairs Commission to ascertain the veracity of the claim. He said that there was no company associated with the PTDF that he or any member of his family was associated with, saying that the EFCC looked at "all my accounts, my son's accounts, my wife's accounts and company where she signed as Fati Turaki all in a bid to establish connection, but they could not find anything.

"Like I said, I am the most investigated Vice President in the whole world. If the only thing they got is that I approved the placement of PTDF money in banks, what have they got?" At the end of the appearance, the Committee commended the Vice President's courage, saying that "if all public officers would subject themselves to public scrutiny the way he has done, the country would be the better for it."

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DAILY TRUST

Obasanjo looted PTDF - Atiku

It's baseless - Presidency
By Aliyu Abubakar & Abdul-Rahman Abubakar

Vice President Atiku Abubakar has accused President Olusegun Obasanjo of "mismanaging and looting" monies meant for the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and exonerated himself from all bribery and corruption allegations surrounding the Fund.

Testifying before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the operations of the PTDF yesterday, Atiku fingered Obasanjo in over a dozen "irregularities, mismanagement and outright looting" of PTDF monies which are "diverted, unbudgeted and outside the mandate of the Fund."

He said: "Indeed, the PTDF has, in recent times, been turned into a slush fund for all manner of inexplicable transactions for the convenience of the very people who falsely accuse me of wrong-doing. PTDF monies are now regularly and whimsically doled out to individuals, groups and causes that catch their fancy."

Atiku who entered the Senate Hearing Room 1 at about 11.25am yesterday was escorted by political associates and numerous aides. They include: Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Chief Pius Anyim, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Dr. Usman Bugaje, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and Chief Yomi Edu.

He alleged that on the 10th of May this year at the height of the tenure elongation plot, the PTDF requested for N20billion for its projects as well as the immediate release of N10billion. "The request was approved by the President and there is no evidence that the N20billion was released to the PTDF," he said.

Citing examples, Atiku alleged that Obasanjo's aides and cronies have been beneficiaries of several PTDF contracts. He said: "Companies linked to such aides of the President as his current Political Adviser, the FCT and Science and Technology ministers, and a long list of his close political associates were favoured with mouth watering contracts from the PTDF.

In a swift reaction however, Special Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Public Affairs, Mallam Uba Sani described Atiku's claims as "baseless and without merit. "Atiku is on his own. He is not speaking in the true picture of events.

"He is engaging in diversionary tactics. Nigerians should not be deceived. The case Atiku has with the EFCC still stands. Atiku should stick with the facts of the issue rather than engage in mudslinging," Sani said.

A member of the committee, Senator Rufai Hanga told Daily Trust that going by the facts Atiku presented, the committee is yet to find any indictment, stressing that "I believe the whole issue is that of misunderstanding."

Atiku told the committee: "Millions of Naira have also been doled out by the PTDF management for some phony community relations consultancy. In order that he is not left out of the party, the new National Security Adviser is currently being processed as an external solicitor to the PTDF through his own legal firm, A. S. Mukhtar and Company."

Atiku also accused the President of approving the sum of $25million from the PTDF to his personal lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, for the mere act of registering a company, Galaxy Backbone.

"Contracts were also awarded from the PTDF to companies belonging to members of the PDP National Working Committee to induce them to support the president's total destruction of internal democracy within the PDP.

"The President approved the sum of $25million from the PTDF for the establishment of a so-called African Institute of Science and Technology, Gulf of Guinea Affiliate; in Abuja…The President approved the sum of $10million for the purchase of computers under the Computers for All Nigerians (CANI).
"The President drew a personal loan of 200million shares from the UBA, which, according to his spokespersons, was used to purchase the 200million shares he owns in Transcorp," Atiku said adding that "no PTDF funds were embezzled."

He said that nearly N19billion were deposited in various banks in the country without approval, adding that without any recourse to the Federal Executive Council, the President raised the money which the Executive Secretary of PTDF can approve form N700, 000 to N10 million.

Atiku told the lawmakers that during his supervisory role at the PTDF, he was persuaded by the Executive Secretary to invest the PTDF monies which at that time would have yielded the sum of N1.235billion as against N161million.

He debunked claims that his son, Adamu, was a director in the Mofas Account, noting that "It is a personal policy that none of my family members will partake in any government transaction."

He said his relationship with Otunba Fasawe and Mike Adenuga were not connected to any business interests as both were his friends

He described as "curious" why the same President who asked for the PTDF probe could not do anything to the numerous embezzlements perpetuated in other institutions as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Ecological Trust Fund.

"The allegations against me are nothing but witch-hunt and character assassination. They are baseless and malicious and meant to prevent me from serving my country at the highest level," Atiku said.

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GUARDIAN

Atiku alleges massive looting of PTDF funds

From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh Abuja
 
IT was billed to be a forum for Vice President Atiku Abubakar to defend the mountain of allegations against him.
 
But the hearing of the Senate ad hoc committee probing activities of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) yesterday turned out a forum to take the battle to the doorsteps of the accusers.

Literally firing from the hips, Vice President Abubakar, who denied all charges levelled against him, raised several damning allegations against President Olusegun Obasanjo and many other state officials.

He denied the allegations that under his supervision, the PTDF was largely used to fund the business activities of his friends and cronies. Abubakar added that since the probe of the fund by the Senate began, far more questionable withdrawals had been made under the watch of President Obasanjo.

The President had forwarded to the Senate, the indictment of Abubakar by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and an administrative panel headed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN).

The Senate opted to set up the panel following strong denials of the allegations, as well as counter allegations by Abubakar's media aides.

Last Friday, EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, told the legislative panel that the Vice President was guilty of the allegations.

But at the public hearing yesterday, Abubakar accused the President of gross financial misconduct. According to the Vice President, the PTDF had in 2006 become a "beehive of irregularities."

He told the legislators: "You will find evidence of PTDF resources being diverted to schemes and activities that are not only unbudgeted for but also clearly outside the mandate of the Fund in line with its governing statutes. Indeed, the PTDF has, in recent times, been turned into a slush fund for all manner of inexplicable transactions for the convenience of the very people who falsely accuse me of wrong-doing."

Abubakar said: "PTDF monies are now regularly and whimsically doled out to individuals, groups and causes that catch their fancy."

On the establishment of an Institute of Science and Technology in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Vice President said: "In August 2006, the President approved the sum of 25 million US dollars from the Fund for the establishment of a so-called African Institute of Science and Technology, Gulf of Guinea Affiliate, in Abuja. The money was released. Distinguished Senators may wish to investigate and find out to whom the money was paid, and where such Institute is located. More importantly, there is no enabling law setting up the Institute and no money was appropriated by the National Assembly for it."

Abubakar also spoke on alleged misconduct over the formation of a company by Obasanjo. He said: "In September 2006, the President approved the payment of the sum of 250 million Naira from the PTDF to his personal lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, of Emmanuel Chambers, for the mere act of registering a company, Galaxy Backbone, with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

"With a share capital of one billion Naira, the actual amount paid to the Corporate Affairs Commission is 23 million Naira." He queried: "Distinguished Senators, is the establishment and funding of Galaxy Backbone within the mandate of PTDF? Is it justifiable for a President who claims to be fighting corruption to authorize the payment of 250 million naira of public funds to his personal lawyer for the mere registration of a company?"

The other allegations include the purchase of computers for civil servants. He said: "Distinguished Senators, you may also wish to note that on July 28, 2006 the President approved the sum of ten million dollars from the PTDF for the purchase of computers under the Computers for All Nigerians Initiative (CANI).

"As laudable as CANI may be, the question should still be asked whether PTDF is the right government agency with the capacity to organize, manage and support a revolving loan for the ownership of computers by civil servants. And considering the need for legislative oversight for such a major project ,why was this programme not included in the normal budgetary process?"

The Vice President urged them to note the purchase agreement between the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and other banks as it relates to the PTDF. He said: "Distinguished Senators may also want to look into the scandalous lending of billions of naira of PTDF money to the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which, strangely, the Federal Government then borrowed from the bank to buy vehicles. It is also interesting that the President went on to draw a personal loan of 200 million naira from the UBA, which, according to his spokespersons, was used to purchase the 200 million shares in Transcorp. We hope that this 200 million Naira 'loaned' to the President is not a trade-off for the deposit, which he approved for the bank. Distinguished members of this committee may wish to investigate these."

On PTDF's bank deposits and interest rates, he said: "I was accused of authorising the deposit of PTDF funds in a bank without the approval of Federal Executive Council. Distinguished Senators as at May 31, 2006, the PTDF had nearly 19 billion Naira deposited in various banks in the country. It may interest you to note that there was no Federal Executive Council approval for these deposits which buttresses my point that I did not require any additional approval, for the deposit which was authorised by me."

Abubakar also spoke on approval limit for expenditure of PTDF funds. He said: "Distinguished Senators, in trying to find out who has been mismanaging PTDF funds, it may interest you to note that on 4th April 2006, without recourse to the Federal Executive Council, the President raised the limit of the amount of money that the Executive Secretary of PTDF can approve from seven hundred thousand Naira to ten million Naira. This new approval limit seems to have provided an opportunity for a renewed assault on the resources of the fund."

He accused the President of awarding contracts to members of the National Working Committee of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Vice President said: "You may also want to know that contracts were awarded from the PTDF on July 17, 2006 to companies many of which are suspected to belong to members of the National Working Committee of the PDP to induce them to support the President's total destruction of internal democracy within the PDP. You will also discover in your investigations that some of the companies to which these contracts were awarded were not duly registered."

He also alleged that PTDF contracts were awarded to the President's aides and cronies, saying: "As further evidence of the abuse to which the PTDF has been subjected by the very people accusing me of wrong-doing, companies linked to such aides of the President as his current Political Adviser, Ministers such as those of the FCT and Science and Technology; and a long list of his close political associates, were favoured with mouth-watering contracts from PTDF.

"Millions of Naira have also been doled out by the PTDF management for some phoney community relations consultancy. In order that he is not left out of the party, the new National Security Adviser is currently being processed as an external solicitor to the PTDF through his own legal firm, A. S. Mukhtar and Company. I urge you, distinguished Senators, to investigate these thoroughly."

The alleged financial misconduct, according to him, also extends to photographs for the State House Library. He said: "As a further example of the gross abuse of PTDF funds, the President's media office is on record as having repeatedly drawn money for such frivolous and unrelated undertakings as production of progress reports and payment for photographs for the State House Library."

He queried the award of contracts for Information Technology by the President. Abubakar said: "Distinguished Senators may also note that in August 2006, a Federal Executive Council memo was presented for approval for the award of contracts for the establishment of ICT centers in 102 Unity Schools, 20 Federal Colleges of Education and 24 Universities. However, Council did not know that these contracts worth billions of Naira and over 20 million US dollars were awarded mostly to the aides and cronies of the President. Earlier on, on the 24th of February 2006, the President approved the sum of 2.5 billion Naira for the supply of so-called "Skill G" science and technology equipment to senior secondary schools, technical colleges, and polytechnics/colleges of technology. You may also wish to find out whether these projects are within the PTDF mandate."

The Vice President also accused Obasanjo of approving huge sums for frivolous projects. He said: "The PTDF, in absolute and flagrant violation of its mandate, was directed to dole out one billion Naira to the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON) even as this investigation had commenced.

"This payment was made via a Prudent Bank cheque dated October l0th 2006. And the one billion naira is being spent for one of the President's vanity projects: naming a gun after himself, the so-called OBJ 006. I have always advocated the resuscitation of the DICON and the repositioning of the Nigerian armed forces in general but it is clearly illegal to do so with PTDF resources."


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TRIBUNE
 
 N20bn PTDF money spent on 3rd term Atiku reveals - Says OBJ spent N250m to register one firm, Another N200m loan to buy Transcorp shares

Soji-Eze Fagbemi, Abuja - 19.12.2006

VICE PRESIDENT Atiku Abubakar on Monday appeared before the Senate ad hoc committee probing the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) where he made startling revelations on how N20 billion PTDF money was allegedly used to fund the failed third term agenda.


Apart from that, the vice president also said that President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly approved the payment of N250 million from the said PTDF money to one of his lawyers to register a company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) while another N200 million was allegedly drawn by the president as a personal loan from the PTDF to purchase 200 million Transcorp shares.


Vice President Abubakar further revealed how the controversial PTDF money was allegedly looted by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Obasanjo/Atiku Campaign Organisation to fund the 2003 elections and the recent third term agenda.


According to him, some of the money allegedly diverted ended up in the pockets of President Obasanjo's aides and cronies, under various phoney contracts and projects. Presenting what he termed: "PTF: The facts, the fiction," Atiku listed the various means through which the fund was looted under the guise of PTDF contracts.


The Marine float, through which the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said the PTDF money was looted in his presentation last week, was also named as one of the channels by which the PDP, Obasanjo, and himself used the PTDF money.


Atiku said: "Marine Float is one of three companies that were placed at the disposal of the PDP and the Obasanjo/Atiku campaign to receive campaign contributions and donations towards securing re-election for the president and myself in the presidential election of 2003.


"Otunba Fasawe was one of the principal fund-raisers engaged by the PDP and the Obasanjo/Atiku campaign to seek donations and contributions for the prosecution of this campaign.


"However, despite the relative success at raising funds, the actual amount expended through this account far exceeded the amount raised such that, well after the elections in 2003, there was still a large debit balance remaining due to be repaid to the bank even after the elections had been concluded.


"As a result, even though the elections had been prosecuted and won, fund raising efforts did not end there, as there was debit balance to be retired." He pointed out that any payments to Marine Float account by Otunba Fasawe were all in line with his responsibilities as a principal fund raiser for the PDP and the Obasanjo/Atiku campaign, as well as any payments by Otunba Fasawe to Mr. Umar Pariya, one of his personal aides.


Besides, the vice president stated that N20 billion PTDF money was used to fund the third term agenda of President Obasanjo, saying that the request for the money was made by the PTDF management on 10 May, 2006, and that President Obasanjo approved the amount the same day.


"Distinguished senators, on the 10th of May 2006, at the height of the evil tenure elongation plot, the PTDF requested, under circumstances that were at best cloudy, for N20 billion for its projects as well as the immediate release of N10 billion. There is no evidence that the N20 billion was released to the PTDF, and there is nothing to indicate that the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was sought and obtained for both amounts.


"You may wish to investigate into what happened to the N20 billion? Where was it placed and what was it used for?" He also told the committee that various contracts were awarded by the PTDF on 17 July, 2006 to many companies belonging to members of the National Working Committee of the PDP to induce them to support the president's total destruction of internal democracy within the PDP, adding that some of these companies, after investigation were not duly registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).


The vice president also revealed that in September 2006, President Obasanjo approved the payment of N250 million from the PTDF to one of his lawyers to register a company named Galaxy Backbone with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) while only N23 million was the actual amount paid to the CAC for the registration of the company.


"Is establishment and funding of Galaxy Backbone within the mandate of PTDF? Is it justifiable for a president who claims to be fighting corruption to authorise the payment of N250 million of public funds to his personal lawyer for the mere registration of a company?" he questioned.


The vice president added: "As a further example of the gross abuse of PTDF funds, the president's media office is on production of progress reports and payment for photographs for the State House Library.


"As further evidence of the abuse to which the PTDF has been subjected by the very people accusing me of wrong-doing, companies linked to such aides of the president as his current political adviser, ministers such as those of the FCT and science and technology; and a long list of his close political associates, were favoured with mouth-watering contracts from PTDF.


"Millions of naira have also been doled out by the PTDF management for some phoney community relations consultancy. In order that he is not left out of the party, the new National Security Adviser is currently being processed as an external solicitor to the PTDF through his own legal firm, A.S. Mukhtar and Company."


To ensure easy release of funds for the third term project, he stated that the president, on 4 April 2006, without recourse to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), raised the limit of the amount of money that the Executive Secretary of PTDF could approve from N700,000 to N10 million, adding that the new approval limit provided an opportunity for "a renewed assault on the resources of the fund."


Another revelation by Atiku was that President Obasanjo drew a personal loan of N200 million from the PTDF money "scandalous lending" to purchase the 200 million shares he (Obasanjo) owns in Transcorp.


"We hope that this N200 million 'loaned' to the president is not a trade-off for the deposit which he approved for the bank," he said. He explained that Adamu Abubakar mentioned by Mallam Ribadu as a director in Mofas was not his son, adding that the allegations against him were nothing but a political witch-hunt and character assassination.
 
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CHAMPION

PTDFgate: Atiku opens can of worms

COSMAS EKPUNOBI, Abuja

Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday made more revelations on how President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly diverted N10 billion Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to finance his failed tenure elongation project.

The Vice President who personally testified before the Senate panel probing the alleged scam in PTDF, told the stunned panel that he has been under pressure not to appear before the adhoc committee.

Vice President Atiku stormed senate hearing room 1, venue of the inquiry at around 11.29am yesterday in the company of his political associates and his first son, Mr. Mohammed Atiku also fingered in the alleged shoddy deal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Vice President, who insisted that his hands were clean in the alleged fraud at PTDF, maintained that the sole agenda of linking him with the alleged fraud was to prevent him from contesting the presidential election next year.

The Vice President in his marathon submission yesterday also revealed how some personal aides of President Obasanjo allegedly received some huge sums of money from PTDF for purposes other than the agency projects.

According to him, one of the personal advisers (name withheld) to the president through a memo dated July 10, 2006 to the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Alhaji Adamu Waziri received the sum of N5 million for the printing of 2000 copies of photographs for the State House library.

Each of the photographs according to the memo made available to Daily Champion cost N2,500.

According to him, on May 10, 2006, President Obasanjo allegedly approved another sum of N10 billion for the funding of the purported tenure elongation.

Said he: "Distinguished senators, on the 10th of May, 2006, at the height of the evil tenure elongation, the management of PTDF under circumstances that were at best cloudy requested for N20 billion for its projects as well as immediate release of N10 billion.

The request was made by PTDF management and approved by the president on the same day.

"There is no evidence that the N20 billion was released to the PTDF and there is nothing to indicate that the approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was sought and obtained for both amount".

"You (Senate) may wish to find out how that money was expended and what happened to the foreign exchange component".

The Vice President denied ownership of Marine Float, one of the account through which the EFCC alleged that huge sums of PTDF money where illegally paid for private interest.

He however said that the marine float was packaged by PDP to receive contribution and donations to fund the "Obasanjo Atiku re-election campaign nationwide.

Marine float is one of three companies that were placed at the disposal of the PDP and the Obasanjo Atiku campaign to receive contribution and donation towards securing re-election for the president and myself in the presidential election in 2003".

Otunba Fasewe was one of the principal fund raiser engage by the PDP and the Obaasnjo/Atiku campaign to seek donation and contribution for the prosecution of this campaign.

The vice president who said that despite the amount raised the organisation was still indebted to some banks.

"I have challenged, and I challenge once again, the EFCC to publish the full details of all the transactions in this account".

The EFCC he said has found itself in the enviable position of being a willing tool in the hands of those whose sole agenda in life has become the quest to prevent Atiku Abubakar by any means possible (legal and illegal) from contesting the presidential election in 2007".

On the placement of PTDF $125 million in TIB now (Spring Bank) which was originally approved for the agency's projects the vice president said that the decision was based on business reason advanced by the Executive Secretary of the agency.

"I was persuaded by the reasonable argument of the executive secretary that investing these fund $125 million at the rate prevailing in the money market at that time would yield to the coffer of the PTDF a sum approximately 1.2 billion as against N161 million were the investment not approved"

"What sin has Atiku Abubkar committed in assenting to the request of an agency he oversees to maximize its potential for realizing the objective for which it was established".

Chairman of EFCC had in his submission on Friday that the said money was paid into VP's private account with the TIB from which it was repaged as loan to the PTDF.

But the vice president insisted yesterday that he did not err in law by placing such money with the TIB and ETB, which according to him were among the approved official banks of the PTDF.

He however admitted paying the sum of N30 million to Otunba Fasewe, (not from PTDF money) to pay his campaign (MDTV) office accommodation rent.

Again he said that he approved another $20 million for PTDF based on the request by the Executive Secretary of the agency for its projects.

He said that as at the time he assumed supervisory role at the PTDF, the agency was keeping its money in 14 banks, adding that till date he had only three deal with the agency.

He told the Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba led committee that, as I speak more illegal contracts are being awarded by the PTDF and some awarded a few months ago.

He however said that neither his son nor any of the family members has benefited from PTDF.

The Vice President who said he has no business interest in Globacom, describing the allegation by EFCC that one Prince Akinyera, a director and a major stakeholder of globacom, was fronting for him, in the company as one of the superior claim by the EFCC to prevent his political ambition.

"I wish to put it on record here that I do not own any shares in globacom, limited and certainly do not own the shares purposing to belong to prince Akingera"

The Vice President who described the chairman of globacom Otunba Mike Adenuga simply as his personal friend, however said that it was not true that he influence ETB loan to the company to pay for its license as the second national operator (SND).

EFCC had alluded in its submission that the company was able to pay after the investments of PTDF was made on ETB.

"I wish to state that I have no control over ETB, its operation, or who it lend money to".

Besides, he dismissed as mischievous claim by the EFCC that it was the fund invested by the PTDF with TIB that was made available to Moffas, a company allegedly owned by Otunba Fasewe repaid its loan.

The Vice President who asked the senate panel to quash the report of EFCC and administrative panel of inquiry, said "I am a victim of a well orchestrated and vicious smear campaign aimed principally to prevent me from offering myself for service to the nation at the highest level.

Chairman of the committee in his remark thanked the vice president for finding time to appear before the committee personally.

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olayinka agbetuyi

unread,
Dec 21, 2006, 5:25:19 AM12/21/06
to USAAfric...@googlegroups.com
If Atiku Abubaker stated, as reported by the Vanguard, that no member of his
family ever benefited from this government's contracts, how does he rcencile
that with his earlier purported confessions that he made good money from
government and so did the President?

The uncontestable truth is that he has made up his mind long ago, that he
would succeed Obasanjo as President, and Obasanjo must have made up his mind
as IBB did while preparing for his exit, that he knew those who would not
succeed him.

We may want to put in historical perspective why this may be the most
plausible scenario; the late General Yar'Adua in his last major interview
with Newswatch after the annulment of the June 12 elections, cryptically
referred to the necessity for the move in the fact that a prominent part of
the nation was not represented in Abiola's ticket. He was referring to the
choice of Kingibe over Atiku as Aare Abiola's running mate (The Kanuris are
one of the largest minorities in the North).

While majorities of South Westerners upbraided Obasanjo (and even burnt his
property) he stood firmly by his later adopted position not to support the
reinstatement of the annulment on the premise that when two people are in a
duel, it is wrong to pick sides, thereby adopting a no-victor-no-vanquished
stance. Only the majority of the populace disagreed with him (together with
Yar'Adua and IBB on this stance). It would appear that it was in a bid to
pacify this powerful Yar'Adua constituency in tha North that (upon Aare
Abiola's demise) Obasanjo was freed to realize the original intention of
this powerful political class. Of course if Atiku had gone on to be
President on this arrangement, he would have gone beyond this arrangement as
the ultimate winner( over Abiola who refused to pick him as running mate
precisely for the same fear, and consequently never tasted power for a day).

Recent political development in the presidential primaries validate this
reading, and as i remarked in my first comment on the Atiku offensive, it
smirks of indiscretion for the Vice-President to pull the whole party
edifice on which he and the president rode to powerdown, including
dragging(jointly with the President) the moral credibility of the Nigerian
Presidency to the gutters. If anyone wanted power so badly that he would go
to that length, he is to be feared, and the President has every right to be
apprehensive. But the President himself justifiably will not emerge
unscathed.

In fact the imbroglio justifies the stance of some of us in 1999, that what
ought to have occurred was the formation of a Government of National Unity
which would have ruled for a one term of between five and six years in which
all the anti-corruption crusade, that had been embarked upon would have been
justifiable without the necessity for political horse-trading and canker
worm of which we now learn about, that is part and parcel of the
presidential system. This president would still have retained the goodwill
of the people that allowed for him to be drafted "as the father of the
nation" in the first place. Atiku would have been told in clear terms there
was no coming back for the two of them. Last and by far the most important,
a honest Sovereign National Conference would have been convoked to ascertain
where Nigerians want to go, and what structural form the country would
adopt. Obasanjo would have retained what I called his Washintonian stature.
All that opportunity has now been lost; to a pretense of "beginning
afresh" (in Abdusalam Abubakar's words) what is clearly not a new beginning
but a reformed business as usual for the erstwhile political elites.

Olayinka Agbetuyi

>From: "Mobolaji ALUKO" <alu...@gmail.com>
>Reply-To: USAAfric...@googlegroups.com To:
>USAAfric...@googlegroups.com
>Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - PTDF INVESTIGATION: N20bn PTDF fund
>missing; President Obasanjo Took N10bn PTDF Money for 3rd Term, Says VP
>Atiku
>Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 08:29:42 -0500
>
>Dear Colleagues:
>
>If you can wade through the six or so newspaper reports below about Atiku's
>testimony before the Nigerian Senate yesterday, you should. Each report
>contains a tit-bit that maybe another one does not have, and will present a
>full picture of the damning accusations.
>
>I doubt if the Fat Person has fully sung yet..
>
>
>Bolaji Aluko
>
>
>
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>PUNCH
>[image: Vice-President Atiku Abubakar during the public hearing on the PTDF
>activities, at the National Assembly, Abuja... on Monday.]

><http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art200612195531576>

>6.3million dollars in its current account".

>11.38and ended at

>1.2billion as against N161 million were the investment not approved"

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