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Atiku Replies Osuntokun, Releases Another Cheque

Posted by This Day on 2006/10/26 | Views: 700 |

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Atiku Replies Osuntokun, Releases Another Cheque


The rumble in the Presidency showed no sign of abating yesterday as Vice President Atiku Abubakar said he was confident he would survive the impending Senate investigation into the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) unblemished.

The rumble in the Presidency showed no sign of abating yesterday as Vice President Atiku Abubakar said he was confident he would survive the impending Senate investigation into the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) unblemished. He, however, warned that mountains of incriminating pieces of evidence awaited President Olusegun Oba-sanjo and a retinue of his aides at the hearings slated for next week.

Perhaps as a teaser, his campaign, the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Orga-nisation, released photocopy of a cheque purportedly drawn from the controversial MOFAS Account in the name of Political Adviser to the President, Basorun Akin Osuntokun, who on Wednesday said Nigerians would be shocked by the revelations that would be made at the Senate hearings.

Osuntokun had told THISDAY Board of Editors, during a visit to its corporate headquarters, that Atiku actually mismanaged the PTDF. He added that contrary to the Vice Presidentís claim, the controversial MOFAS and Marine Float Accounts, which had become subjects of the Senate inquiry, were not the 2003 presidential campaign accounts.

But the Vice President, in a statement by his campaign, said it was the presidential adviser, not Nigerians, that would be shocked by what would come out at the hearings, warning that one of the evidence awaiting Senate scrutiny was a N2.5 million cheque, which Osuntokun allegedly cashed from the MOFAS Account domiciled in Trans International Bank (TIB), Apapa, Lagos.

It said: "Atiku Campaign Organisation, prompted by claims on Thursday that the Senate probe of PTDF would shock Nigerians, the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation has identified Akin Osuntokun as one of the presidential aides who actually looted PTDF and collected millions of naira from the controversial MOFAS account."

According to the campaign in the statement by its spokesman, Dr. Adeolu Akande, "Osuntokun, who was quoted Thursday as saying that Nigerians would be shocked at the findings of the Senate investigation of the PTDF made regular sorties to branches of the Trans International Bank to withdraw millions of naira from the MOFAS account which he claimed to have used for campaign-related expenses."

It added: "In one of such sorties, Osuntokun on 4th April, 2003 collected N2.5 million from the Apapa branch of the TIB, which he collected personally, and was then hauled home in a Ghana-must-go bag."

The campaign said the presidential adviser must also be ready to stand before the Senate to explain what services he did for the PTDF for which millions of Naira were paid to him, contending that it had consistently maintained that the real looters of PTDF were cronies, aides and associates of the President.

A Senate inquiry had arisen from a presidential correspondence, attaching reports of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Government Admin-istrative Panel of Inquiry, which indicted the Vice President for abuse office.

Both reports had said the Vice President abused his office by diverting money from the PTDF to two banks, Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) and TIB, which subsequently made the funds available for personal use of his friends and business associates.

The Vice President, however, refuted the indictment and challenged both in court and the Senate, compelling the legislative body to set up the Senator Ndoma-Egba ad-hoc committee to conduct an independent investigation into the federal government agency.

Subsequently, Atiku had consistently claimed that the controversial accounts, into which some of the PTDF money was diverted, were used for the 2003 presidential election, claiming that they were jointly operated by the President and the Vice President.

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