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PTDF: Atiku releases 13-point killer dissent

Posted by By IKENNA EMEWU on 2007/03/03 | Views: 2581 |

PTDF: Atiku releases 13-point killer dissent

If a stinker reply by Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the verdict of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee that probed the PTDF scam does not get a solid and provable reply from the Senate, it might leave the report of the upper legislature futile in the eyes of many Nigerians.

• Says Senate Committee report is a cover-up

If a stinker reply by Vice President Atiku Abubakar to the verdict of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee that probed the PTDF scam does not get a solid and provable reply from the Senate, it might leave the report of the upper legislature futile in the eyes of many Nigerians.

Not only would public fund have been wasted on the act, the position of the Vice President would forever cast a slur on the integrity of the Senate Committee headed by Senator Ndoma Egba (SAN)

The document in the possession of Saturday Sun which faulted point-by-point the findings and position of the Senate which merely gave President Olusegun a tap on the back and came down heavily on Atiku Abubakar is loaded with outright accusations against the Senate of compromise and cowardice that made them provide the president a soft landing.

Much care was taken by Atiku to take the points that were in issue before the Senate one after the other, and also punched holes on each conclusion, declaring them as heavily flawed, unreasonable and outrightly lacking in fairness and justice for all the involved parties.

N250m legal fee
Atiku is crying foul that a Senate Committee with a mandate for the sake of Nigeria and justice overlooked a weighty allegation that the Emmanuel Chambers, law firm of Obasanjo’s personal lawyer, Chief Emmanuel Afe-Babalola was unjustifiably paid a staggering N250m for just registering a company for the President.
The argument Atiku has against the Senate is that there were indisputable evidences before it that the fee was outlandish for the registration of one company – Galaxy Backbone.
"The Committee in its report claimed that the N250 million paid to Emmanuel Chambers of Chief Afe Babalola, private lawyer to President Olusegun Obasanjo was for sundry services and not for the mere registration of a company. This is a false conclusion as the correspondence between Chief Babalola, the PTDF and the President clearly identified the service for which N250 million was paid. This is a clear case of diversion of public fund to cronies and at best an abuse of office.
"In his letter of 3rd July 2006 entitled: "Registration of Galaxy Backbone Plc", Chief Babalola stated as follows:
"We wish to inform you that we have concluded registration of Galaxy Backbone Plc. at the Corporate Affairs Commission.
"We hereby ask for the sum of N300,000,000 (three hundred million naira) as our professional fees. This amount covers our professional fees, expenses incurred at the Corporate Affairs Commission, Stamp Duty Office, traveling and other expenses". This letter speaks for itself about the purpose for which N250 million was requested.
"This was re-enforced by the request of the PTDF to President Obasanjo to approve the request of Chief Babalola. In the memo dated 11 September 2006, Maina Waziri, the Executive Secretary of PTDF addressed a memo to the President thus:
"May I crave the indulgence of Mr. President and formally recall the directives to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to effect the incorporation of Galaxy Backbone Plc. as conveyed vide Annex 1.
" Consequent to this directive, Messrs Emmanuel Chambers was given the assignment of the company’s registration with a N1,000,000,000 (one billion naira) capitalization. This has been achieved".

Atiku’s N30m loan/Obasanjo’s N700m
Atiku Abubakar would not understand why the Senate adjudged a transaction of N30m as fraudulent but looked the other direction in respect of another transaction involving Obasanjo with Otunba Fasawe. The transaction with Mofas, owned by the same Fasawe involved Atiku, and the Senate said it was an abuse of office. But why it declined the same conclusion about Obasanjo on a related matter involving N700m is not clear to the Vice President.
It lamented that: ‘Two bank accounts hold the key to unraveling the PTDF controversy. The MOFAS account owned by Fasawe had been accused of receiving PTDF investment in TIB. Marine Float was fingered as the account belonging to Vice President Abubakar into which N250 million paid by Fasawe was seen as evidence of business relation with Atiku. He challenged the Committee to call for the bank statements of MOFAS and Marine Float to understand their relationship with PDP.
"The Committee rebuffed the invitation. Yet, if it did, it would probably confirm Atiku’s claim that Obasanjo paid N700 million into MOFAS Account in May 2004. If Atiku’s payment of N30 million to Fasawe is evidence of his business relationship with Fasawe, will Obasanjo’s N700 million payment into Fasawe’s account not then indicate an even closer relationship with the account and its titular holder? The committee did not follow this trail".

PTDF as Obj’s settlement outlet
The Vice President is throwing up very serious allegations to establish that the Senate erred in not finding the President guilty or indictable of using the PTDF, a government agency as outlet to settle cronies and PDP bigwigs for personal interests.
"I provided six documentary evidences, including a search result at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to establish that the PTDF was used as a slush fund where Aides of President Obasanjo were awarded mouth-watering contracts. Curiously, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee did not address the allegation.
"With valid documentary evidences, I persuaded the Senate that the same President used PTDF as front to award frivolous contracts to NWC members of the PDP. The Senate Ad-hoc Committee did not address this issue at all in its report. Even the grave allegation that the PDP stalwarts were paid for contracts awarded to unregistered companies which violated several laws, was ignored".

Incompetent Ribadu
Because of the alleged contradictions in findings of EFCC and the Senate on the culpability of Globacom in PTDF loans, Atiku calls to question the professional competence of the EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu.
His tacit disavowal of Ribadu’s job in investigating the matter arose from the unjustified proofs EFCC raised about Globacom and the chairman, Chief Mike Adenuga and concluded that: "In its report that unjustly indicted Atiku and which was reproduced before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee, EFCC’s Nuhu Ribadu claimed that Globalcom and its Chairman were guilty of using PTDF’s fund to pay for its SNC licence. This is in spite of abundant documentary evidence that Globacom paid for its license before the PTDF invested money in ETB. The Senate committee has confirmed Globacom’s claims that there is no evidence of any transaction between ETB and Globacom. What does this say about the investigative competence of EFCC? What does this say of EFCC’s sense of fairness and equity when it is realized that Otunba Mike Adenuga, chairman of Globacom had been arrested, detained and harassed out of the country and made a fugitive in the last three months by the conduct of Ribadu"?

Non-existent N3bn institute
A N3b (US$25m) transfer from the account of PTDF by Central Bank of Nigeria for an institute - African Institute of Technology, which is said not to exist anywhere nags Atiku and makes him raise questions on how fair the Senate was in its conclusions.
"In August, the CBN was directed to transfer $25million from the account of PTDF for the establishment of the African Institute of Technology.
The Senate Ad-hoc Committee in its report merely acknowledged that the institute was out of the purview of the brief of PTDF and that the approval of such a transfer by the Federal Executive Council mitigated the impact of the illegality. This conclusion shies away from the main issues:
There is no structure yet for the so-called African Institute. So who had been keeping the $25million in his custody for the past seven months?
How much interest has accrued on the $25 million and where is the interest? What is the status of the so-called African Institute in Nigeria law?
The FEC only approved the $25million transfer in October 2006 three months after the money had been in the custody of someone. Who is this person? Is he entitled to keep such fund"?

N1b Obj gun
What could be the reason that made a President vote N1b for the production of branded guns after the name of the Commander-In-Chief. The Vice President is alleging that this was one of the goofs of Mr. President, and he thought the Senate would have seen this as improper and recommend commensurate punishment for it.
He however lamented that the Senate was silent on this grave allegation against the number one citizen. The branded gun, according to Atiku is called OBJ 006.

Transcorp N2.4b deal
"Vice President Abubakar alleged that PTDF invested N2.4 billion in a consolidated bank and went back (on behalf of the federal government to borrow money from the same bank).
He alleged that President Obasanjo took N200 million from the same bank to buy N200 million shares of Transcorp after the investment of PTDF money there on his approval.
The committee did not make any reference to this allegation even though Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir el-Rufai confirmed in an interview with The Nation newspaper in September, 2006 that Obasanjo got a loan of N200 million from the bank.
‘The question is why the silence on Obasanjo’s loan from this bank since the "guilt" of Atiku was because a friend of his borrowed money from a bank in which PTDF invested its funds".

PTDF bogus rehabilitation
He fumed that PTDF money was stolen under various disguises including a bogus rehabilitation of the PTDF secretariat with N130m.
"The sub-committee in its report said it did not have the time to verify whether the contracts for the rehabilitation were inflated or not even when the so-called one-storey building renovated for N130 million is about five minutes drive from the National Assembly. It is also instructive that by PTDF admission, it has no due process certificate for these projects".

N20b: From PTDF to third term project
The still-born third term project of Mr. President was said to have got N20b lifeline from the milking cow called PTDF. That the Senate overlooked this claim by the VP annoys the number two citizen.
"It however did not see such "coincidence" between the application of PTDF for N20 billion on May 10 2006, the approval of N10 billion of the application by President Obasanjo same May 10, 2006 and the release of N10 billion of the money same day. The committee did not also deem it fit to investigate the allegation that the money was used to induce support for the third term bid which was scheduled for deliberation in the National Assembly same week".
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar insists that until the Senate clears all these cobwebs of unresolved and hanging allegations of corruption and abuse of office around the President, it has just done nothing and its reports would never be acceptable to him and discerning Nigerians who would always read in between the lines to see the yawning gaps.

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