$115m Bribe: EFCC grills Imoke, detains Edo gov aspirant
Former Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke was on Wednesday quizzed over the N23.29billion election bribe scandal. Others interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are former Minister of Mines and Steel Musa Muhammad Sada; former Minister of State for Agriculture Asabe Asmau Ahmed; former Edo State Deputy Governor Lucky Imasuen and former Secretary to the Edo State Government Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
The EFCC said one of the former ministers, Asabe Asmau Ahmed, admitted that of the N450million given to her, she kept N105million for herself.
As at press time, Imasuen and Iyamu were in EFCC’s custody pending their arraignment in court.
The anti-graft agency is, however, on the trail of a former member of the House of Representatives, Tony Azeigbemi.
The breakdown of the money ascribed by the EFCC to those interrogated is as follows: Imoke (N500m); Sada (N700m); Ahmed (N450m); Imasuen (N700m); Ize-Iyamu (N700m); and Azeigbem (N700m).
The cash allegedly came from the $115million which former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke lodged with Fidelity Bank in controversial circumstances during the 2015 electioneering campaign.
According to a source, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, Imoke was quizzed at the zonal office of the EFCC in Port- Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, over his alleged involvement in the N500million allegedly collected by the Cross River State’s chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Ntufam John Okon.
The source said: “Imoke arrived at the Port-Harcourt office of the EFCC by 10:15am on Wednesday and is answering questions being posed to him by his investigators.
“Also, a former Deputy Governor of Edo State, Chief Lucky Imasuen and a former Secretary to Edo State Government, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, have been interrogated by operatives of the EFCC, for collecting N700Million from the $115million Diezani funds.
“The N700million was reportedly collected from the Mission Road branch of Fidelity Bank Plc, in Benin- City in March, 2015.
“Iyamu, a PDP’s Presidential Campaign Coordinator in the 2015 presidential election, admitted collecting the money from the bank.
“He told EFCC’s interrogators that he went to the bank on that day with Imasuen and a former House of Representatives member representing Edo Central, Tony Azeigbemi (who is yet to be arrested by the EFCC) and the money was handed over to them by an official of the bank. Both Imasuen and Iyamu signed for the money.
“Investigations by the EFCC showed that the two politicians conveyed the money from the bank in a bullion van to the residence of a top politician in Edo State. The Commission is on the trail of the politician for the recovery of the money. Both Imasuen and Iyamu are in the custody of the EFCC and will be charged to court soon.”
The EFCC has also interrogated two former ex-ministers, Musa Muhammad Sada (Mines and Steel) and Hajiya Asabe Asmau Ahmed (Minister of State for Agriculture).
A statement by the EFCC said: “A former Minister of Mines and Steel, Arch. Musa Muhammad Sada, has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission about his involvement in the alleged N23.29bn poll bribery scandal.
“Sada is one of the former ministers in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, being investigated by the anti-graft agency.
“During investigation, Sada disclosed that he was authorised by former governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema, to collect N700m on behalf of Katsina State and remit it to the former state’s Commissioner for Finance to keep for him (Shema).
“In a related development, a former Minister of State for Agriculture, Asabe Asmau Ahmed, from Niger State, revealed how she signed for and collected N450m.
Ahmed also stated she kept N105million for herself.
“She further alleged that the balance was given to top Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, party officials in Niger State.”
The EFCC has been probing Mrs. Alison-Madueke for her alleged involvement in a $115m (N23,299,705,000billion) bribe for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to change the results of last year’s elections.
About four oil firms, 14 directors of oil companies, two banks and more than 22 INEC officials, including Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), are under investigation.