April 27, 2016

Ex-Finance Minister refunds N140m, surrenders 2 houses

Ex-Finance Minister refunds  N140m, surrenders 2 houses

Esther Nenadi Usman

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

ABUJA—Embattled former Finance Minister, Senator Esther Nenadi Usman, has returned N140 million out of the N2.5 billion she allegedly received from the office of the former National Security Adviser ahead of the 2015 Presidential elections.

In addition, the former Senator, who served as the Director of Finance for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Campaign Organisation, has surrendered two of her houses to the Federal Government as a condition for her release from the custody of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Esther Nenadi Usman

Esther Nenadi Usman

A top source in the commission, who confirmed the figures to Vanguard, hinted that the former Finance Minister might be released on bail on health grounds, given the amount of money and the property she has forfeited to the government in lieu of what she collected.

Although the source said the commission had obtained a court order to keep her beyond the stipulated time to interrogate her further, it was learned that an undisclosed health challenge facing her had compelled the operatives to consider granting her administrative bail to seek medical attention.

When asked if the former minister had been released, the source said: “She is still with us, but we are considering granting her bail, even though we have a subsisting court order to keep her.

“The former minister and lawmaker has agreed to surrender two of her choice property in Abuja, in addition to refunding N140 million to the Federal Government.”

According to findings, the former minister is being quizzed over various sums of money, which were paid into her account, including the N2.5 billion which was transferred out of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, into her account.

In addition, N140 million cash was allegedly paid into her Zenith Bank Account in January 2015.

Usman is alleged to have had access to what EFCC sources described as “huge cash,” some of which the agency says came from the CBN.