Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
A former Governor of Adamawa State, Bala Ngillari, has denied claims that he ordered the collection and distribution of N450million Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential campaign fund for the state.
Ngillari, who was recently invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was reacting to claims by a former Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Hassan Adamu, and the PDP state Chairman, Joel Madaki. that they collected the money from Fidelity Bank, Yola branch and deposited it at the accounts department of the state Government House on the instruction of the governor.
Ngillari said all his official engagements were cancelled at the time the money was received because he lost his mother and was at home throughout the period receiving people on condolence visits.
He said: “I didn’t see the money with my eyes, whether it was N100 or N200, N500 or N1000 denominations, I didn’t see the money with my eyes because I was at home receiving people who have come to console me on the loss of my mother.
“I also didn’t know with whom they kept the money except that I acted on the information they gave me with the accounts department, after counting and verifying the money.
“So I didn’t participate in the process of taking the money from the bank and keeping it in the Government House. I didn’t know who took the money, but of course, I told the operatives that if they get people from the accounts department, Government House, they will be able to tell them where the money was kept, who gave instruction for it to be moved, or where the money went to, who took the money, who gave instructions to remove the money or where they money went.”
The former governor recalled that he had received a call from the Director of Finance of the PDP presidential campaign and former Finance Minister, Nenadi Usman, asking him for the name of the state PDP chairman and the telephone number of Ambassador Hassan Adamu, a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP.
“But around March, 23, I travelled to my senatorial district for the first time after we had recovered seven local government areas from Boko Haram, I went to see the situation as the governor, physically based on the reports I had earlier received, to thank the people of my senatorial district.
“By 7.30p.m. on March 23, I returned home to receive the sad news of the death of my mother, who had been staying with me. So from March 23, after I returned, to March 27, I never left my house, till on the 28 when I went to cast my vote.
“Now on March 26, Nenadi phoned me to say that I should send Boni Haruna, Minister of Youths Development then, Hajia Zainab Maina, then Minister of Women Affairs under the government of Jonathan, the Chairman of the party in the state as well as Ambassador Hassan Adamu, a member of the BoT to go and collect some money from the Fidelity Bank.
“Because Haruna and Maina were not readily available, Wakili Adamawa and the Chairman of the party went and, according to Madaki and what they told me later, is that they went to Fidelity Bank, introduced themselves, they were shown the money for the presidential elections and they decided on their own without me being in the know because for me, it was a party money for the elections.
“So, they decided to keep the money with the Accounts Department in Government House, they counted the money and when it was verified that it was correct, they left it with the department for safe keeping.
“Their allegation was that they went up and told me that they kept the money, and I said no, I was not in the office from the 23 March up to 27, I was never in the office because I had lost my mother, all official engagements were cancelled. It was after they kept the money that they phoned me. I said ok,” he said.
Ngillari said as a PDP governor, he did not contribute financially to the presidential campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan.