By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Few days after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo alleged that former President Goodluck JonathanÂ took and shared some N150 billion from the public purse two weeks before the 2015 elections, the presidency last night revealed how the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) got instructions from the former president to move over N100 billion from the CBN to his private residence.
The former president had denied the allegation, challenging the vice-president to present evidence of his allegation.
But a presidential source who did not want to be named, disclosed yesterday that fresh discoveries by the presidency showed how several tranches were illegally removed from the public treasury by the former administration ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
According to him, the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, personally supervised the physical transfer of the money from the CBN vault to the private residence of the former president, revealing that in one particular instance, over N70billion was released in tranches from the CBN between January 8 and February 25, 2015.
He also said the sum of over $289 million which was referred to last week by Osinbajo was part of this particular series of alleged illegal transactions, adding that in another illegal disbursement, the minutes of meeting of the CBN board meeting of 25th August, 2014, showed that the board approved another N60 billion requested by the former president and released later by the central bank.
The source further said the sum approved by the CBN board was not connected to any project or procurement but wasÂ disbursed purely for campaign purposes through the office of the then NSA, who is currently being prosecuted, and the leadership of Department of State Services (DSS) at the time.
â€œSpecifically, that N60 billion that was okayed by the CBN on August 25, 2014, was said to have been shared between the two security agencies thus: N40 billion went to the NSA while N20 billion was released to the DSS.
â€œWhile some of these fundsâ€™ disbursement have been traced to the former NSA, there are indications that some of the funds were unconnected to his ongoing defence contract trial,â€ he said.
The source also said that the sum of $289 milliom mentioned by Osinbajo was released on February 25, 2015, pointing out that the cash vouchers obtained showed that $289,202,382 was released in cash to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) by the CBN from the joint venture (JV) cash call account number 000-0000-11658-366 of the NNPC/NAPIMS with JP Morgan Chase Bank, New York, USA.
Furthermore, he said at the exchange rate of $199 to one naira at the time, the $289million was equivalent to approximately N57.55 billion, noting that if the money had not been stolen, it would have amounted to N88.5 billion at todayâ€™s the exchange rate of over N306.
The source added that further findings showed that in yet another set of illegal withdrawals within one week between January 8 and 16, 2015, the sum of N1.5 billion was released in three tranches of N300 million, N400 million and N800 million, respectively.
â€œThis money was released from the MEA Research Library Account to the Jointrust Dimension reportedly owned by Danjuma Yusuf and Nenadi Esther Usman,â€ he quoted an official source whom he said had knowledge of the disbursements as stating, disclosed further that the sums were transferred to their various political associates whom he said included a former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode.
He added: â€œFurther findings showed that N350 million was allegedly transferred to Femi Fani-Kayode through his Zenith Bank Account No. 1004735721 on February 2, 2015.
â€œAlso, another N250 million was allegedly transferred to Fani-Kayode through the same Zenith Bank Account on February 19, 2015.
â€œA document further showed that yet another N10 billion was released to the Office of the National Security Adviser by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on September 15, 2015. The money was said to have been released in tranches of foreign exchange of $47 million, $5 million, 4 million Euros and 1.6 million Euros. A letter from the Office of the NSA in November, 2014 further showed that the monies were released by the CBN as â€˜funds for special servicesâ€™.â€
Reading from a letter signed by Dasuki, the source said: â€œFurther to our discussion, you are pleased requestedÂ to provide the sum of $47,000,000 cash out of the N10,000,000,000 and the balance in euro to this office for special services.â€
The presidency source noted that findings have shown that this particular CBN release of N10 billion was sourced in November 2014 from N40 billion CBN had released funds meant for corporate social responsibility, revealing that tt was the said sum that Jonathan had instructed the CBN governor and the then NSA to deliver to him personally at a private residence in Abuja.
He said the money was illegally transferred a using CBN van for the use of the â€œPDP presidential primary,â€ adding that more illegal transactions would soon be unearthed.