During the course of its investigation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has come across a memo authorising the disbursement of the N3.145 billion allegedly paid to the chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party and the Goodluck Support Group.
The beneficiaries include a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode said to have received N840m; a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae reportedly received N100m; a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman said to have been paid N36.9m; a former Imo State Governor, Achike Udenwa and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri reportedly got N350m while Okey Ezenwa is said to have received N100m.
According to The Nation, a former permanent secretary sent the memo from the Presidential Villa but there is no precise knowledge as to who specifically gave the instructions.
However, one of the beneficiaries of the payment claimed that the memo was on the instruction and approval of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
Sources in the EFCC revealed to The Nation that: “We have uncovered a memo which was raised by a former Permanent Secretary for the release of the N3.145billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”
“Preliminary findings indicated that the idea to wire money from the CBN actually came from the Presidential Villa. We are looking into all clues in order to identify more public officers and PDP chieftains involved in the alleged diversion of public funds from the CBN to the campaign directorate.”
“After completing the first stage of investigation, we will then invite some of the suspects for interrogation. The CBN also has all relevant records on the N3.145billion, including the approval from the Presidential Villa. We will get to the roots and retrieve every kobo. We will certainly quiz more people in the days ahead.”
One of the beneficiaries has allegedly fingered Goodluck Jonathan as the person who approved the memo in question.
Another source was quoted to have said: “The beneficiary claimed that the memo directly showed that the ex-President gave the order to the ex-Permanent Secretary. The idea emanated from the Presidential Villa to shore up campaign funds.”
“Some forces in the defunct Campaign Directorate however said Jonathan did not know anything about it. They said they felt betrayed that the process for the release of the funds was not open. Some of these directorate officials collected money from other public institutions. The EFCC must look at all angles.”
“We want EFCC to unveil those behind the memo. Now that the secret is known, it is convenient to shift all blames on the ex-President. We are suspecting foul play.”