Our case against Atiku


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Our Case Against Atiku, by EFCC

By Ise-Oluwa Ige
Posted to the Web: Tuesday, October 03, 2006

*Says he has no excuse on alleged diversion of PTDF money
ABUJA— THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is ready to confront Vice President Atiku Abubakar with material evidence in court of his alleged corrupt acts in the disbursement of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).
The VP had gone to court contesting the EFCC and the Administrative Panel reports indicting him for abuse of office in his management of the PTDF money.
He said in his statement of claims that he ought to have been given a fair hearing on the placement of the PTDF funds in Trans International Bank and Equatorial Trust Bank before his indictment.
But the EFCC in it counter-affidavit deposed to by one of its detectives, Abdullah Bello, said not only was the VP asked questions on the placement of the funds, but was given latitude to comment on all issues relating to the subject of probe.
Besides, the commission said he reacted to all questions relating to the placement of fund which formed the basis of his indictment. EFCC, consequently, said his claim that he was not given a fair hearing was laughable.
The anti-graft body which vowed to confront him with material evidence at the appropriate time also described as nonsense another claim by the vice president that he was not given a copy of the report indicting him. The EFCC said it was not under any obligation to make available to him any such report.
The commission’s position on the string of allegations by Atiku is contained in a 21-paragraph counter-affidavit filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja in reaction to the suit initiated by him (VP Atiku) to impeach the EFCC’s report which indicted him.
Vice President Atiku had dragged EFCC and nine others to court over two separate indictments entered against him in respect of the management of the PTDF’s account.
The vice president had alleged in an affidavit deposed to before the Abuja Federal High Court through one of his assistants, Umar Pariya, to the effect that both the EFCC and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry headed by the Federation Attorney-General, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN) which investigated him on the fund breached the principle of audi alteram partem.
He said he was not asked questions ron the basis of his indictment and that the rule of natural justice demanded that he be given fair hearing before he could be indicted. He, therefore, prayed the court to void the indictments on the ground that he was not given fair hearing.
First to react to the allegation was the Justice Minister in a 55-paragraph counter-affidavit while EFCC joined with another 21-paragraph counter-affidavit.
Chief Ojo (SAN) not only defended himself, his panel, and the EFCC, he also accused the VP of illegal diversion of PTDF funds.
His words: •That in the plaintiff’s response, the plaintiff did not address the issues fully but omitted to disclose vital facts to the court. To wit:
•That the plaintiff diverted funds meant for PTDF operations to finance NDTV.
•That even though the projects for which funds were required in the PTDF were not approved until 2006, the plaintiff had ordered that the money be withdrawn from treasury since 2003.
•That on 18/10/03, the plaintiff directed the Accountant-General of the Federation to release USD$20 million to PTDF without the approval of the Executive Council to enable the PTDF carry out some projects but the money was placed on term deposit in TIB.                 
•That the placement of the money in TIB was done to promote the business of NDTV, the plaintiff’s other interests and that of some of his friends and associates.
•That as soon as the placement was made, NDTV was granted a loan of N400 million on 20/10/03 and N420 million on 22/10/03 by T.I.B.
•That Otunba Fasawe remitted the sum of N400 million to the plaintiff’s Personal Assistant, Alhaji Umaru Pariya, on 4/10/2003 which sum Otunba Fasawe recovered through a loan of N420 million received from TIB on 22/10/03 after the  PTDF’s funds placement.
•That the plaintiff paid from his Marine Float Account in Bank PHB the sum of N30 million for the purchase of the property at No. 555 Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II.
•That the plaintiff’s property at No. 555, Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II, is used as the headquarters of NDTV.
•That the balance of the purchase money for the property referred to above was paid after the plaintiff ordered a placement of USD$10 million in TIB and a loan of N400 million was granted by TIB to NDTV.
•That several other people were paid various sums of money deposited in TIB pursuant to directive by the plaintiff.  Evidence of the beneficiaries and the amount will be given at the trial.
•That from a total sum of $30 million placed by PTDF in TIB, only the sum of $6.25 million has been repaid, leaving an outstanding balance of $23.75 million to date.
•That the plaintiff also ordered placement of $50 million in ETB.
•That the plaintiff further directed that the sum of $52.9 million and $62.1 million be placed in ETB from the account of PTDF.
•That the plaintiff stood as surety for Otunba Fasawe when NTDV applied for Value Added Network Service from Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).
•That all these facts stated in paragraph 13 supra were never disclosed by the plaintiff in his response.
•That the plaintiff attached Exhibits 5A and 5B to give the impression that the money invested was with the consent of the President (See Paragraph (XV) of the affidavit in support of originating Summons.
•That however, the President never approved the release of the funds for the purpose of placing it in any bank.
•That on the contrary, the money was approved for the purpose of implementing projects relating to the programme of PTDF.
•That Exhibit 5A attached to plaintiff’s affidavit shows that on 29th April 2003, the plaintiff approved the placement of a total sum of $125 million in two banks (ETB and TIB).
•That on 14th October, 2003, the plaintiff directed the release of an additional sum of $20 million from the treasury.
•That Exhibits 5B mentioned that the $20 million was to be used to carry out some projects according to the letter seeking approval by the PTDF.
•That, however, rather than use the $20 million to carry out any project, the funds were placed with TIB and used for NDTV where the plaintiff had substantial interest.
• That contrary to paragraphs 18(xii) and (xiii) of the affidavit in support of the Originating Summons, the 7th Defendant in its report indicted the Plaintiff at Pages 32-33 as follows:
•That the placement of the PTDF’s fund was not done arbitrarily but deliberately designed to promote some business ventures in which the plaintiff and some of his friends has interest.
•That the placement in TIB, for instance, was designed to promote Netlink Digital Televant (NDTV), a satellite television project and Mofas Shipping Company where the Chairman of both companies is Otunba Fasawe, a long standing friend of the plaintiff.
•It has also been revealed that Otunba Fasawe remitted the sum of N400 million to the plaintiff’s Personal Assistant, Alhaji Umaru Pariya, on the 4/10/03 which he conveniently recovered through a loan of N420 million he received from TIB on the 22/10/03 after the PTDF’s funds placement.”
•That a clear demonstration of the plaintiff’s business interest in NDTV is the fact that on 07/10/03 the plaintiff paid the initial sum of N30 million deposit from his Marine Float Account in the Bank PHB for the purchase of the property situated at No. 555 Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Wuse II, Abuja and used as its headquarters.”
•That to further buttress the long standing business relationship between the plaintiff and Otunba Fasawe, the latter paid the plaintiff the sum of N61 million on 29/01/01 from his Mofas account with TIB.
•That a further sum of N25 million from Mofas Shipping Company’s account of Otunba Fasawe in TIB was transferred to plaintiff’s Marine Float Account in Bank PHB on 18/02/03.
•That acting on the facts stated above the plaintiff was indicted by the 7th defendant for embezzlement and fraud.
 The EFCC counter-affidavit is similar to the A-G’s.
culled from Vanguard, October 3, 2006.



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