The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched a discreet investigation into the finances of the 18 political parties in the country and their presidential aspirants. This followed the humongous fees paid for expression of interest and nomination forms by aspirants vying for various elective offices in the parties.
The anti-graft agency has, therefore, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to furnish it with the bank accounts and other financial details of the political parties.
It also asked the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank to provide the details of the 14 accounts operated by the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party and another organisation believed to be connected to the opposition party.
While the ruling APC sold its presidential forms for N100m, the main opposition party pegged its forms at N40m.In addition, the APC governorship aspirants paid N50m, while persons who declared for the Senate, House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly paid N20m, N10m and N2m, respectively for their nomination and expression of interest forms.
On the other hand, the PDP sold its governorship forms for N21m; Senate, N3.5m; House of Representatives, N2.5m; and state Houses of Assembly, N600,000.
While the other parties charged lesser amounts for their forms, the exorbitant nomination fees charged by the two dominant parties angered many Nigerians with Transparency International describing the development as a form of money laundering.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, last week hinted on a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, that the commission would monitor campaign finances, including the legitimacy of the funds used to purchase nomination forms ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Bawa said the commission would be working with INEC and other election-related organisations to track the sources of the money spent on the purchase of nomination forms.
He noted, “When it comes to the issue of monitoring election funds as well as candidates’ funds that has to do with the work of INEC in this regard. But, of course, we are working hand in glove with INEC and other related agencies in that field to ensure that we follow the money.
“We want to know the source, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate, because that is what concerns us.”
Findings have indicated that the agency had begun a forensic investigation and tracking of the finances of the political organisations and interest groups.
The EFCC, in a letter to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, dated May 9, 2022, signed by its Director of Operations, Michael Wetkas, on behalf of the chairman, demanded a list of all political parties, their designated bank accounts and any other information that could aid its investigation.
The letter, with reference number CB.3383/EFCC/HOPS/HQ/VOL.1/28, titled, ‘Investigation activities’, read, “The commission is conducting an inquiry in which the need to obtain certain information from your commission is imperative. In view of the foregoing, you are requested to kindly avail the following information: list of all registered political parties; list of designated accounts submitted by the political parties to your commission; any other information that may assist the commission in its investigation.
“This request is made pursuant to sections 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004. While thanking you immensely for your continuous cooperation and collaboration, please accept the assurances of the chairman’s esteemed regards.”
The EFCC in another letter, also signed by the Head of Operations, informed the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank in Abuja that it was investigating 14 accounts of the two dominant parties.
According to the letters, the investigation involves accounts 0692988080, 0035644896 and 0044183689 in Access Bank belonging to the APC; an account with number 0054586830 owned by the National Secretariat of the PDP, and three other accounts by Umbrella Trust Limited – 0076600091, 0066988655 and 0068595990.
In Polaris Bank, one of the accounts belongs to the APC (1771444115), while two are operated by the PDP – 1140060876 and 1770319690 – and four by the ‘PDP Fund Raising Dinner’ – 1771643176, 177647521, 177164514 and 1771647507.
Wetkas wrote, “The commission is investigating a case in which the above-mentioned account names and numbers featured.
“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to forward the certified true copies of the following: Account opening packages/mandate cards; statement of account from January 2021 to date (hard and soft copies). The soft copy should be copied to excel format and forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The letter also requested the certificate of identification pursuant to Section 84(4) of the Evidence Act, 2011. (The certifying officer should include his full name, designation, signature and date on each page). The commission also requested the banks to furnish it with any other relevant information that could assist the investigation.
PHOTOS: Buhari on condolence visit to UAE
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Dubai on a condolence visit over the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates.
Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 73 on May 13, 2022.
The country’s ministry of presidential affairs had declared a 40-day state mourning with flag flown at half-mast and the suspension of work in the public and private sectors for three days.
Buhari departed Nigeria on Thursday and arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Friday.
He was accompanied by Zubairu Dada, minister of state foreign affairs; Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy; Mohammed Bello, minister of federal capital territory, and Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation.
Below are photos.
Protest in Abuja over council chairmen tenure extension
Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory have taken to the streets to protest the tenure extension of six area councils’ chairmen and councillors.
The chairmen and councillors’ terms in office elapsed on Thursday and the newly-elected officials were supposed to be sworn in today.
But the FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, cited a court judgement and extended the officials’ tenure by one year.
Displeased by the extension, residents in the Gwagwalada Area Council on Friday morning took to the streets.
The residents, who barricaded the roads and made bonfires, are demanding a reversal of the decision.
The incident, it was gathered, obstructed vehicular movements in the area.
Nigerian government moves to end ASUU, poly lecturers strikes, begins arrears payment
The Federal Government has commenced the payment of minimum wage arrears, which it owed lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as part of efforts to end ongoing strikes by the unions, The PUNCH has learnt.
The National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, and the Chairman, ASUU FUTMinna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, confirmed this in separate interviews in Abuja on Thursday.
The two unions are currently on strike following the inability of the government to meet their demands including the payment of minimum wage arrears and release of revitalisation funds, among others.
While ASUU commenced its strike on February 14, 2022, ASUP is currently on an initial two-week warning strike.
Confirming the payment on Thursday, Ezeibe, however, said that was just the beginning.
He said, “The government has started responding. They just started paying the salary/minimum wage arrears, the one they have refused to pay.
“However, that is just one of the demands, so we have not reached anywhere. They have not attended to the others, but I can confirm that people have started receiving alerts of the arrears owed.”
Also, Bolarin, said, “Some of my members got alert of their minimum wage arrears; their salaries are still pending.”
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