By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, invited Alison Amaechina Madueke, husband of embattled former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Madueke, a retired Admiral of the Nigerian Navy and former Chief of Naval Staff, was picked up in Abuja yesterday morning by EFCC operatives over alleged money laundering to the tune of $600,000 through his personal accounts.
An EFCC source close to the interrogation confirmed to Vanguard last night that Madueke was summoned in connection with some funds, which were traced from some suspicious transactions into his account but did not give details of the transactions.
The source did not also say whether the transactions had anything to do with his wife, Diezani, who many believe authorized the controversial oil deals now rocking the industry.
But a source close to Madueke said the man was simply invited to make some clarifications and nothing more.
“They think he has some clarifications to do. The invitation by the EFCC certainly had nothing to do with the wife. He reported there, cleared the air and he was asked to go back home,” the legal practitioner said.
A top EFCC official said the man was asked to appear before them to make clarifications on certain issues related to some financial transactions traced to his account.
The source hinted that although Madueke had been cautioned and released on administrative bail, he might be asked to report back on a future date.
‘Sacked bank chief donated N1bn to PDP’
In a related development, a former top government official, among those shown the way out of their offices on Monday by the Federal Government, is facing more trouble, over alleged malpractices.
The official, who headed a bank was said to have run into trouble for withdrawing the sum of N1 billion in the build-up to the 2015 election and paying same to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to aid its presidential campaign.
A top source in the bank told Vanguard, yesterday, that although the money was withdrawn in Naira, it was, thereafter, changed into US Dollars and given to a senior official of the party.
Insiders hinted, last night, that about 40 per cent of the amount said to have been withdrawn and paid to the PDP in order to impress the former President was, however, shared by some top officials of the bank with the knowledge of the sacked boss.
Top on the list of offences, which the sacked bank chief perpetrated while in office, is the demand for 10 per cent bribe of any amount to be approved for customers and other illegal sundry charges which discouraged potential businessmen from patronising the bank for development funds.
The ex-bank boss is accused of using his exalted position to disburse huge funds running into billions of Naira to himself, friends and associates, thereby leaving the strategic federal financial institution in what insiders described as ‘terrible shape’.
One of the fronts he used to siphon money from the bank in the name of ‘loans’ was said to have been arrested by the EFCC for using one property situated at Jikwoyi, near Abuja, as ‘collateral’ for collecting over N2 billion from the bank.
The man was, however, released on bail but the trial is yet to be concluded.
In one case, which is now being looked into by the Ministry of Finance, which supervises the financial institution, the sacked executive refused to approve a N1.5 billion loan requested by a popular farming association based in Lagos and Ogun states, despite the recommendation of the food-producing group by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
According to report now before the Ministry of Finance, the firm had approached the bank boss as early as 2012 and applied for a loan facility of N1.5 billion to enable it acquire more equipment and produce more for exports but the man insisted on taking 10 per cent bribe as a condition for listing the firm for discussion with other board members.
After paying the initial N150 million as demanded by the bank boss, he then asked the farming group to bring another N150 million to be shared out to his other officials before releasing the loan to them.
“We were forced to go and source for the balance of N150 million to pay the man only for us to be told that he had been sacked last Monday.
“We have already lost N150 million, being 10 per cent of N1.5 billion as bribe to this man who was shown the way out of the bank last Monday. All our documents for the loan are intact in the bank.
“We have reported this matter to both the EFCC and the Minister of Finance who supervises the bank,” one of the farmers in the group told Vanguard in Abuja, yesterday.
N3.5bn bad loans incurred
The man alone is said to have approved bad loans amounting to N3.5 billion for himself and cronies, thereby grounding the bank, which is meant to assist the development of business.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was said to have been so displeased by the negative reports against the bank boss that she scolded him for working against the interest of the bank and Nigerian entrepreneurs who needed the services of the institution to make progress.
Mrs. Adeosun vowed that he would not go scot-free of the atrocities he had committed before he was relieved of his appointment on Monday.
The EFCC, however, said last night that it had not started taking on any of the sacked officials yet but noted that it was aware of the financial crimes they committed.
“None of them has yet been summoned but we will soon move against them in line with the new direction of our operations,” a top official of the anti-crime agency said.