Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
My PTDF Story
November 23, 2006
pre-determined conclusion on the PTDF is to pronounce my humble self,
Atiku Abubakar, Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, guilty
of fraud and embezzlement, in order to satisfy the callous and mischievous
aims of those who seek to rely on the provisions of Section 137 (1) (i) of
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (“the Constitution”
Petroleum Technology Development Fund (”PTDF”).
For clarity's sake, it is pertinent to set out the true position as follows: The PTDF is a “Fund” strictly speaking i.e it comprises of money that has been set aside for a special purpose. The PTDF does not operate like a Federal Ministry or a government parastatal that has funds allocated to it for its activities. The PTDF is its own financier in that its funds already exist and reside with it.
The PTDF funds its activities primarily from income earned from investing the money comprised in its fund. Until July 2004 when Mr. President directed that all government ministries, agencies and departments should return their accounts to the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”), most of the PTDF's funds were in the custody of several Nigerian commercial banks (including, for example, First Bank, Union Bank, City Express bank, Hallmark Bank, Trade Bank, Platinum Bank, Bank of the North, among others), earning varying sums as interest on these investments. It is the interest income derived from these investments that the PTDF utilises in funding its various day-to-day activities. The EFCC, in its report, has sought to portray the investment of funds with Equatorial Trust Bank (“ETB”) and Trans International Bank (“TIB”) as matters arising out of the ordinary, whereas, the opposite is the case. The PTDF has always engaged in the investment of funds in the normal course of its activities.
In April 2003, acting upon a memo presented by his Special Adviser on Petroleum & Energy, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, the President-In-Council authorised the PTDF to execute certain special projects designed to enhance its capacity building activities throughout the country. These projects were, initially, estimated to cost a total of US$125 million, and this sum was approved to be set aside by the PTDF to execute these projects.
When the Federal Executive Council approved $125m for then PTDF, the Executive Secretary raised a memo to me seeking approval to place the money in banks to generate money for the agency because it will take some time before the agency designs projects and secure Due Process approval for the projects. The money was placed in Equitorial Trust Bank and Trans International Bank at the rates prevailing in the banking sector at that time.
Equatorial Trust Bank/Globacomm/Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr.
I have also noted the mischievous allusion by the EFCC to the so-called “coincidence” of Globacom being able to pay for its Second National Operator (“SNO”) license soon after the investment of funds in ETB by the PTDF. Firstly, I wish to state that I have no control over ETB, its operations or whom it lends money to. If the EFCC is of the view that ETB has advanced an illegal or unauthorised loan to any of its customers (including Globacom), then, it is incumbent on the EFCC, as a law enforcement agency, to inform the CBN of this fact and seek CBN sanctions on ETB. Thankfully, however, Globacom and its bankers have caused a newspaper advertisement to be published setting out the circumstances surrounding the payment for the SNO license and none of this involves the PTDF, or my humble self.
I need not say more about the illogicality of the EFCC under this heading other than to point out that, in my simple understanding, banks are in the business of receiving deposits and advancing loans to their customers.
Trans International Bank/NDTV/Mofas Shipping/Otunba Johnson Fasawe.
More importantly, officials of TIB interviewed by the EFCC have stated categorically (as contained in the EFCC report) that the only basis upon which TIB granted the loan to NDTV was that NDTV had secured the commitment of the US Exim Bank to finance the rest of the cost of the project, which was put at US $38 million. It begs the question, therefore, that if NDTV was relying on PTDF funds to finance its business activities, as alleged by the EFCC, why was it also negotiating with the US Exim Bank for export guarantees/credit facilities and the Sofitel Corporation for credit facilities.
As regards NDTV and Mofas, I wish to state categorically that I have no interests, investments or shareholding whatsoever, directly or indirectly, in any of these two companies. I do know Otunba J. O. Fasawe, the Chairman of NDTV and Moffas, respectively, and I count him as one of my friends. He is a long time friend and a prominent member of my political party, the People's Democratic Party (“PDP”). I do not, however, have any business dealings whatsoever with him, nor am I involved in any way in or with any of his companies or businesses.
Marine Float/Umar Pariya.
The records of all the payments to and from Marine Float are with the EFCC and I need not bore you here with a rehash. Suffice to say that, to the best of my knowledge, not one Naira of PTDF funds were paid into Marine Float's account at any time whatsoever, either directly or indirectly. If the EFCC is of the opinion that this account has been operated in an improper manner, it is well aware of its responsibilities under the law and I would enjoin it to be alive to those responsibilities.
Congressman William Jefferson/I-Gate Corp-NDTV/I-Gate Corp-Rosecom.Net
I understand that Mr. President has informed you that he ordered the investigation into this matter based on a letter he received from Congressman William Jefferson alleging that PTDF funds were used to pay I-Gate for the business venture between I-Gate and NDTV.
Firstly, I will repeat what I have said time and time again regarding Congressman William Jefferson - I do not have any relationship with Congressman Jefferson other than the usual courtesies, which someone in my position will be expected to extend to someone in Congressman Jefferson's position. For the avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to point out that Congressman Jefferson is a prominent member of the US Congress; he is also a prominent member of the Congressional Black Caucus of the US Congress as well as being the Chairman of the US Congress Sub-Committee on Nigeria. It is in these various capacities that I have met and interacted with Congressman Jefferson.
To the best of my knowledge, Congressman Jefferson was involved in a business relationship/transaction with NDTV and I-Gate under which NDTV paid Congressman Jefferson/I-Gate the sum of US$6.5 million. According to Otunba Fasawe, the Chairman of NDTV, this business relationship/transaction could not proceed further because of a dispute arising between the parties. Otunba Fasawe informed me that he was taking all steps possible to recover the US$6.5 million that NDTV had paid to Congressman Jefferson/I-Gate Corporation and had written a petition to Mr. President to seek his assistance in getting a restitution of the monies his company had paid to Congressman Jefferson/I-Gate. Contrary to the information that has been placed at your disposal, it was, in fact, Otunba Fasawe that first petitioned Mr. President to seek his intervention in obtaining a refund of his company's money. It was in response to this petition that Congressman Jefferson wrote a letter to Mr. President in July 2004, where he sought to obfuscate issues by alluding to the monies having been obtained from or through the PTDF, a letter that Mr. President now claims is the basis upon which he ordered an investigation into this matter.
In July 2005, Congressman Jefferson met with me in Washington DC in the company of a Ms. Lori Modi, who he introduced to me as “an investor” in his business. At this meeting, Congressman Jefferson informed me that he had teamed up with another Nigerian company called Rosecom and sought my assistance to intervene to help preserve the sanctity of a contract which, he said, I-Gate/Rosecom had entered into with NITEL PLC. He gave me a letter he had written to me to that effect which I forwarded through the normal official channels to the Ministry of Communications.
Since that last meeting with Congressman Jefferson, I have learnt that Ms. Modi is cooperating with the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (“FBI”) into allegations of bribery and fraud, which she had leveled against Congressman Jefferson relating to a sum of US$3.5 million which she, allegedly, paid to I-Gate Corporation to repay NDTV.
I have sought to provide you with all this background material because it is pertinent that you are availed of all the facts before arriving at your conclusions.
Finally, the EFCC sought to draw linkages between NDTV and me by alleging that I am, somehow, involved with the company without providing any cogent evidence in that regard. It begs the question: Is it possible that I would be involved with NDTV and still not only agree to meet with Congressman Jefferson to discuss his new partnership with Rosecom, but also help forward his letter to the Ministry of Communications for necessary action? Is it possible that, I would be involved with NDTV which is being owed US$6.5 million - and still not only meet with Congressman Jefferson but also seek to help him advance the cause of I-Gate/Rosecom to the detriment of NDTV?
EFCC/Administrative Panel of Inquiry.
In concluding, I would like to state here categorically that the findings of the EFCC as contained in its report dated 24th August 2006 and the contents of the report of the so called “Administrative Panel of Inquiry” based on the EFCC report, as they purport to relate or refer to me, are totally false, baseless and unsupportable by the facts in this matter. I would urge you to address your minds accordingly and consign these reports into the dustbin of history where they belong.
Finally, I cannot but end this letter without adding a note of caution. It would appear that in the quest by certain elements in our body polity to have their way by any means necessary, decorum, truth, due process, individual rights, and the sanctity and inviolability of our constitution, have all become casualties, sacrificed on the altar of convenience, all in the name of achieving the dastardly goals these agents of calumny have set for themselves. This is wrong. This is dangerous. This cannot be allowed to continue.
We must remember that power is bestowed by God and conferred by the dear citizens of this country. Atiku Abubakar is only one man. That he occupies the position of Vice-President today is by the grace of God. That he will occupy any position other than that which he holds today can only be, if it is bestowed by God and conferred by the citizens of this country. In the unrelenting quest to destroy Atiku Abubakar, we should be careful not to destroy the office he holds - that of the office of Vice-President, and all our other structures and our constitution, because the office does not belong to Atiku Abubakar and, one day, he surely will relinquish it. If we destroy all of these just because of Atiku Abubakar, what is the future for our democracy? What is the future for our country? What is the future for our children and generations yet unborn?
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.