By Bolaji Adebiyiin Abuja
Former Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, has denied a claim by an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Chief Chibudom Nwuche, that the Amnesty Office owed him about N2.9 billion.
Nwuche, who is subject of investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged N2.86billion fraud, had in his defence claimed that the Presidential Amnesty Office under the watch of Kuku owed him the said money being a loan he granted the intervention agency.
He subsequently filed a suit, FCT/HC/CV/2609/16 on Tuesday, September 27th in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, claiming that he (Nwuche) is being owed the said sum.
But Kuku, in a statement by his lawyer, Mr. G Ezeuko (SAN), said Nwuche’s claim was false. “Neither me nor the Amnesty Office owes Nwuche the aforementioned money,” he said, alleging that the APC chieftain attempted a smart move to avoid a proper trial of the matter by not notifying him (Kuku) of the suit to enable him defend himself.
Kuku said the Amnesty Office had no reason to borrow money from anybody, including Nwuche since while he served under President Goodluck Jonathan, the office was properly funded.
Besides, he said, there were clear guidelines for any agency of the federal government that wanted to borrow money had to follow, explaining that as the head of the intervention agency, the office had no cause to resort to those guidelines since the issue of obtaining a loan never arose.
“Let me emphasis that Kuku did not, and could not have obtained a loan on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria from Nwuche. There are clearly laid down procedure or processes that departments and agencies of the federal government of Nigeria usually follow while seeking to obtain loan on behalf of the federal government from either institutions or individuals,” he said, challenging Nwuche “to produce any iota of proof to back his rather comical claim that he gave a loan to the Presidential Amnesty Office.”
The former presidential adviser said it was the APC chieftain that owed the office and the office the N2.86 billion at issue, contending that it was a contract sum that Nwuche failed to execute.
According to Kuku: “Rather it is Nwuche that is owing the Presidential Amnesty Office and the Federal Government of Nigeria, the said sum of N2,864,584,979, being part payment to him to fund the contract awarded to his firm, Foundation for Youth Development (FYD) by the Amnesty Office between 2012 and 2013, to provide offshore training for Niger Delta youths in construction, Information Technology and Welding in Vietnam, Malaysia and at the World Maritime University in Sweden, under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.”
He said after the payment, Nwuche and his firm, Foundation for Youth Development, failed to execute the contract as stipulated in the letter of award, explaining that concerted efforts were made to get the APC chieftain to timeously execute the contract but to no avail.
Saying Nwuche’s claim and suit were in bad taste, Kuku told him to go and clear himself at the EFCC and desist from dragging the Presidential Amnesty Office into he called a clear case of failure to execute a lawful contract.