Fresh facts have emerged on how former President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly withdrew and shared over N100 billion belonging to the Federal Government ahead of the 2015 elections. The presidency yesterday confirmed that the money was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and distributed to politicians two weeks to the elections to ensure his reelection.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while speaking at the 7th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for private sector stakeholders at the presidential villa on Monday last week, revealed that the former President supervised the frittering of N150 billion public funds in a manner that the country is yet to recover from the shock. In a swift reaction to the Vice President’s comments, however, spokesman for the former President, Mr. Reno Omokiri, challenged Osinbajo to show proof of such financial impropriety or remain silent. Despite the denial from Jonathan, the presidency yesterday insisted that its earlier position that the sum of over N100 billion was frittered by the former President is backed with several evidential documents showing withdrawals and disbursements.
A top presidency source confirmed to our correspondent that the amount was illegally withdrawn from the CBN in several tranches shortly before the 2015 elections was conducted. The source said a larger part of the over N100 billion was transported from the CBN to the private residence of the former President. According to the source, who is a senior presidential aide: “In that particular case, the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) personally supervised the physical transfer of the money from the CBN vaults to the private residence of the former President.
“In one particular instance, over N70 billion was released in parts from the national treasury between January 8 and February 25, 2015. The over $289 million, which was also referenced last week by the Vice President, is said to be included in this particular series of illegal transactions.
“Besides that in another illegal disbursement, the minutes of the Central Bank board meeting of August 25, 2014 indicated the board’s okay of another N60 billion requested by the former President and released later by the Central Bank.”
The source also explained that the illegal withdrawal of the funds, which was not tied to any specific project or procurement, was approved by the board of the CBN. He stressed that all the amount was meant and disbursed purely for campaign purposes, through the office of the then NSA and the Department of State Services (DSS) leadership at the time.
The presidential aide also confirmed to New Telegraph that: “Specifically, the N60 billion that was okayed by the CBN on August 25, 2014 was said to have been shared between the two security agencies thus: N40 billion went to the NSA while N20 billion was released to the DSS. “While some of these newly emerging fund disbursements have been traced to the former NSA, there are indications that some of the funds are unconnected to the ongoing defence contract trials of the former NSA, while some might.
“Available documents, the source said, include cash vouchers which indicate that $289,202,382 was released in cash to the NIA by the CBN from the Joint Venture (JV) Cash Call Account No. 000- 0000-11658-366 of the NNPC/ NAPIMS with JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA.
He said: “Between January 8 and 16, 2015, the sum of N1.5 billion was released in three tranches of N300 million, N400 million and N800 million respectively. “This money was released from the MEA Research Library Account to the Joint Trust Dimension reportedly owned by Danjuma Yusuf and Nenadi Esther Usman.”
The source further said the sum was transferred to the political associates of the president. According to the presidential aide, findings have also shown that N350 million was allegedly transferred to a political associate of the former President on February 2, 2015. Another N250 million was allegedly transferred to the same Jonathan’s associate on February 19, 2015.
“Another N10 billion was released to the Office of the NSA by the CBN on September 15, 2014. “The money was said to have been released in tranches of foreign exchange of $47 million, $5 million, 4 million Euros and 1.6 million Euros,” he explained.
The source said that a letter from the Office of the NSA in November, 2014 further showed that the monies were released by the CBN as ‘funds for special services’. The letter reads in part: “Further to our discussion, you are please requested to provide the sum of $47 million cash out of the N10 billion and the balance in Euro to this office for special services.” The letter was signed by the former NSA.
The source said that investigations by security agencies have shown that this particular CBN release of N10 billion was sourced in November 2014 from a N40 billion CBN released funds meant for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). “It was this N10 billion that former President Jonathan instructed the CBN Governor and the then NSA to deliver to him personally in a private residence in Abuja. “The money was illegally transferred using CBN van for the use of “PDP Presidential Primaries,” he stressed.