Alex Enumah and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Thirty-five days to the general election, the Director of Public Affairs of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Fetus Keyamo, yesterday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, for an order compelling three anti corruption bodies to arrest and prosecute former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, over allegations bordering on misappropriation of public funds.
The anti-corruption agencies which were sued alongside Atiku as 2nd to fourth defendants include; the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Meanwhile another lawyer, Obunike Ohaegbu has petitioned the EFCC, ICPC, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA) and the CCB to arrest and interrogate the presidential candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, over their alleged involvement in corruption.
Keyamo told the court that the legal action was triggered by the refusal of the anti-graft agencies to honour his petition against the former Vice President as well as Atiku’s refusal to make himself available to the agencies for investigation of corruption allegations.
Keyamo in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2023 and filed on his behalf by one Fetus Ukpe submitted that the defendants are duty bound to investigate and prosecute anyone who has been accused of corruption in the country.
In an 18 paragraph affidavit deposed in support of the suit, plaintiff averred that “on or about December 2, 2022, a certain whistleblower known as Michael Achimugu went public and gave graphic accounts of certain events that transpired between him and the 1st Defendant.”
According to the plaintiff, Achimugu made available to the public a Certified True Copy of an affidavit to which he swore capturing those events between 2017 and 2022, when he “worked closely with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in media matters.
“The whistleblower recalled of a N100 million bribe allegation against Atiku by the former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye.”
The plaintiff said based on Achimugu’s revelations he immediately wrote to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants drawing their attention to the facts and urged them to act in accordance with their statutory powers and duties.
“The plaintiff further avers that after submitting the petitions, he observed from all indications that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants are unwilling to investigate this matter.
“The plaintiff avers that till date, the 1st defendant has not made available to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants, for the purpose of aiding their investigation, information available to him in respect of a certain bank account belonging to a company named Marine Float and other accounts of two undisclosed companies, which information he disclosed to a certain close aide of his called Michael Achimugu, as to how the said accounts were used as a “Special Purpose Vehicles” to secretly divert and misappropriate public funds between 1999 and 2007 when the 1st Defendant served as Vice President of Nigeria,” he added.
He therefore prayed the court to declare that Atiku “is under a legal obligation to make available to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants, for the purpose of aiding their investigation, information available to him in respect of a certain bank account belonging to a company named Marine Float and other accounts of two undisclosed companies, which information he disclosed to a certain close aide of his called Michael Achimugu, as to how the said accounts were used as a “Special Purpose Vehicles” to secretly divert and misappropriate public funds between 1999 and 2007 when the 1st Defendant served as Vice President of Nigeria.
“A mandatory order compelling the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to invite and/or arrest, investigate and (if found wanting) prosecute the 1st defendant in respect of information available to the 1st defendant in respect of a certain bank account belonging to a company named Marine Float and other accounts of two undisclosed companies, which information he disclosed to a certain close aide of his called Michael Achimugu, as to how the said accounts were used as “Special Purpose Vehicles” to secretly divert and misappropriate public funds between 1999 and 2007 when the 1st Defendant served as Vice President of Nigeria.”
Keyamo submitted that if the court does not grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, a grave crime and/or infraction of our laws would have gone undetected.
No date has been fixed for hearing.
But addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, Ohaegbu, a member of the PDP supported the call by the APC PCC, but insisted that Obi should also be arrested and prosecuted for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
In a petition addressed to EFCC, ICPC, CCB, IGP and NDLEA, dated 19th January, 2023 and made available to journalists, Ohaegbu noted that there was urgent need to conduct investigation over allegations on Tinubu’s true identity and age.
Ohaegbu pointed out that Nigerians deserve to know the truth about the alleged connection between 70 years old Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State and 85 years Lamidi Amoda Sangodele from Iragbiji in Osun State.
The petition read: “Nigerians deserve to know if both are one and the same person. That would also clear some issues concerning the Primary and Secondary Schools he attended and consequentially resolve the puzzles surrounding his schools certificates.
“Investigation on the allegation of conviction of drug related crimes in the United States also needs to be made and Nigerians promptly informed of steps taken to investigate the allegation. The Nigerian voters deserve to know if he actually forfeited the sum of $460,000 to the United States of America for his convictions on narcotics trafficking and money laundering in the United States.
“The maintenance of Domiciliary Accounts while serving as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria despite the express provisions in the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. These concerns are more worrisome as there are strong allegations that the accounts through which monies were forfeited in the drug prosecution case in the USA remained active even when he was the Governor of Lagos State.”
On Obi, Ohaegbu challenged the anti-graft agencies to investigate allegation of allocation of Anambra State land to a company allegedly belonging to his family, SABmiller Nigeria Ltd, the producers of Hero beer and the investment of over $20 million equivalent to about N13 billion in the same company when the company allegedly had financial challenges to start productions.
The petition added: “Allegations that choice lands were appropriated from the state and given to the Shoprite Conglomerates in Onitsha,Awka and Nnewi because he had family investments in the company.
“The allegations of money laundering published on the Pandora Papers on October 4th, 2021. The allegations of mass murder of 25 bodies found in Ezu River between January 19th, 2013 and January 20th, 2013 and other human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated in the state when he was the governor using the notorious Nigerian Police Department known as SAARS with office in Awkuzu, Anambra State which has been scrapped.
“The allegations of the appropriation of the funds meant for the 21 Local Government Areas in Anambra State for eight years without proportionate investments in the various Local Government Areas through the un- constitutional appointments of Caretakers for the local government in the pretense that a court restrained the conduct of the Local Government Elections but suddenly vacated the restraint few days after his successor was elected.”
He said all the agencies petitioned should ensure prompt action and prosecution of these candidates, saying this would assist in strengthening Nigeria’s democratic institutions.
Ohaegbu warned: “If you fail, refuse and/or neglect to act, I shall be filing a joinder in the proceedings that would be initiated by Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN to compel you to act.”