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Ripples over Obasanjo’s son’s $22m in US bank

Posted by Ikechukwu Amaechi, Lagos on 2005/03/29 | Views: 547 |

Ripples over Obasanjo’s son’s $22m in US bank


The heat of the anti-corruption war embarked upon by President Olusegun Obasanjo since he assumed office in 1999 may have been turned on him eventually as the United States of America has queried him over $22 million allegedly lodged in the foreign account of his son, Gbenga.

The heat of the anti-corruption war embarked upon by President Olusegun Obasanjo since he assumed office in 1999 may have been turned on him eventually as the United States of America has queried him over $22 million allegedly lodged in the foreign account of his son, Gbenga.

The query which, according to reliable sources, has been revealed to the leadership of the National Assembly may come handy as one of the tools with which the Assembly would attack President Obasanjo when the federal legislators reconvene on April 5, after Easter break.


The money over which the query was issued was said to be in one of the many accounts maintained by the son of the president in the United States of America.


Reliable sources said, worried by the huge sum of money in the account of President Obasanjo’s son, American President, Mr. George Bush allegedly fired a query asking Obasanjo to furnish the authorities with the source of the money lodged in one of US’ leading commercial banks.


But in a swift reaction, a spokesman of the president, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode described the allegation as a mere campaign of calumny aimed at blackmailing the president.


His words: "This is just a campaign of calumny and nothing could be farther from the truth. Gbenga is a first class individual and a man of absolute integrity who is humbe, decent and very respectful. He is certainly neither a crook nor a rogue and nobody can blackmail him.


"In any case, we will not succumb to any form of cheap blackmail. If anybody really has anything, why is it that it is now that they want to make an issue out of it?Why didn’t they do so before now? They are only tryting to intimidate and embarrass us. But whatever they have, let them bring it out and I have no doubt in my mind that Gbenga will disprove it. This is a hardworking and honest young man and they should please leave Mr. President’s family out of politics.


"In any case, what crime are they saying the young man committed? Has he committed crime for being a businessman or the president’s son?" he queried.


However, reliable sources have informed Sunday Independent that the National Assembly, the House of Representatives in particular, may use the query against President Obasanjo in a possible impeachment bid.


But on this, Fani-Kayode said one would have to throw that question to them on why they would want to impeach the president.


According to him, there was no ground for a plot to impeach the president.


"Like we always said, the Senate and the House are full of men and women of integrity. But there are only a few bad ones among them," he added.


Following the nationwide broadcast of the president last Tuesday, announcing the indictment of the Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara, the Minister of Education, Professor Fabian Osuji, and a number of principal officers of the National Assembly, in a bribery scandal, members of the National Assembly had resolved to take on the president.


The legislators, however, did not expatiate on what their course of action would be.


But sources told Sunday Independent that the House might have been bolstered by some alleged discoveries especially that of plans to buy off the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State by Gbenga using some companies that were just recently incorporated in Nigeria.


According to sources, the Alliance for Democracy leader in the House, Mr. Wunmi Bewaji disclosed the case of the query issued to Obasanjo by Bush to other legislators and presented a document to that effect.


Besides, the source alleged that the lawmakers were ready to brandish proof that the same Obasanjo’s son, through the Indian Company ISPAT bought the gigantic Ajaokuta Steel plant and also on the verge of acquiring Delta Steel Plant at Aladja, Delta State and the Itakpe Iron Ore Mining Corporation in Kogi State. His company, Global Consult is also said to have controlling shares in these companies.


It was also gathered that the House Committee on Power and Steel had also investigated the case..


However, there was a bit of disagreement among the legislators before a final decision was reached.


While some of them argued that the president should not be held responsible for a crime committed by Gbenga since he is an adult, others said he could not be totally unconnected as he had been presenting his son, Gbenga as a reliable businessman, whenever he travelled abroad.


Sunday Independent gathered that a list of other business interests of the younger Obasanjo was also shown to the lawmakers during their executive session last Wednesday morning where they took a resolute stand to hit back at the president for allegedly making a sweeping statement that the National Assembly was an institution characterised by corruption.

A member said if the legislators disclose all they have or report their findings at the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the nation would marvel at the level of corruption going on.

The source said the House had now resolved to bring everything to the public arena for Nigerians to judge.

Similarly, the legislators have also complained that the Presidency had been starving the National Assembly of fund.



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