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Halliburton: Panel to quiz Abacha, Emir’s son

By Kingsley Omonobi
ABUJA — THE five man inter-agency panel set up by President Umaru Yar’Adua and headed by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, to investigate the $190 million Halliburton bribery scam is set to invite Alhaji Abdulkadir Abacha, brother to the late maximum ruler, General Sani Abacha and Prince Ado Bayero, son/heir apparent to the throne of the Kano emirate to answer some questions on the scandal.

This is contrary to the belief in some quarters that the Presidential panel had developed cold feet over certain persons thought to be untouchables.

The disclosure came even as Vanguard gathered that investigations into the alleged involvement of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, in the sharing of millions of dollars of the bribe money, have failed to yield any fruit.

The impending invitation of General Abacha’s brother and Prince Ado Bayero it was revealed, followed disclosures by some of those earlier interrogated that both were beneficiaries to the tune of millions of dollars as they topped the list of some prominent northerners that partook in the sharing of the loot.

On Atiku Abubakar, a source told Vanguard that after spirited investigations and interrogations, it has been discovered that he had no hand in the bribery scam.

“We discovered that Bodunde Adeyanju, the Special Assistant on Domestic affairs to former President Obasanjo, was the person at the centre of the PTDF saga that pitched the former President and the Vice President against each other.”

It will be recalled that at the height of the PTDF saga during which period, Atiku Abubakar was accused of some activity that smacked of corruption, Bodunde was the one accused by the Atiku camp of collecting huge sums of PTDF money for some persons as well, though the report of the panel that investigated the saga is yet to be made open.

Based on this connection, it was revealed that Atiku Abubakar’s name may have been mentioned in the hope that the former Vice President would be roped in as an accomplice. The source said however that it did not mean Atiku has been cleared as investigation is still ongoing.

Vanguard further gathered that following disclosures by the Federal Government, Monday, money has been approved for the panel to visit Switzerland and other European countries for further investigations.

On how far it has gone in its bid or request for the extradition of Mr. Jeffrey Tessler, the British lawyer and anchorman who was responsible for disbursement of the money to prominent Nigerians, sources said the Americans are also seeking to have him extradited for the same investigation hence it could be difficult to get him.

Apart from the two former heads of state that were alleged to be beneficiaries of the bribe money, Vanguard had reported that former National Security Organisation (NSO) helmsman, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, former Chief of Air staff, AVM AD Bello, former federal Permanent Secretary and brother of Niger state governor, Ibrahim Aliyu as well as some former oil ministers and NNPC former Managing Directors had been invited by the panel.

Also, a former Inspector-General of Police, M.D Yusuf was quizzed over his alleged role in the contract scam.


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