N23bn Diezani Bribe: EFCC Grills Uduaghan, David Edevbie, Ndudi Elumelu
LAGOS MAY 20TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has begun investigations into the roles of the immediate past Governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and a former federal lawmaker, Ndudi Elumelu, for in the $115m (N23bn) disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
The EFCC also grilled a former Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Chief David Edevbie; and a former state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Chairman, Chief Edwin Uzor, for their alleged roles in the scam.
According to detectives in the anti-graft agency, the ‘Delta share’ of the money, which was N450m, was withdrawn from the Nnebisi branch of Fidelity Bank in Delta State and handed over to Uduaghan.
“During interrogation at the Port Harcourt office of the EFCC, we were told that the money was N450m and it was received through the Nnebisi branch of Fidelity Bank, Delta State, and handed over to Uduaghan for disbursement to the local governments during the 2015 general elections.
“The next step will be to quiz Uduaghan so that he can explain his own side of the story. They will be in court as soon as investigations are completed.”
All attempts to speak with Elumelu proved abortive as he neither answered calls not responded to a text message sent to his telephone on Thursday night.
As part of investigations into the fraud in the oil sector last month, the EFCC discovered that Diezani allegedly deposited $115m into Fidelity Bank through four companies.
She was alleged to have also given $26m cash to the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, before the presidential election in 2015.
EFCC authorities alleged that the $115m, which was later converted to N23bn, was used to bribe officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The EFCC has since arrested over 20 INEC officials and quizzed some former governors, including ex-governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and ex-governor Ibrahim Shekerau of Kano State.
Meanwhile, a former Senior Special Assistance to the Bayelsa State Governor on Millennium Development Goals, Mr. Apere Embeleakpo, and the agency’s accountant, Allison Amachree, have been interrogated by the EFCC over their alleged involvement in the embezzlement of over N380m belonging to the agency.
They were alleged to have diverted the money by awarding fictitious contracts among themselves without following due process.
Already some properties, belonging to the suspects, including a petrol station, two plazas and their bank accounts, have also come under investigations following a court order obtained by the EFCC.
“Although the suspects were picked up and granted administrative bail by the EFCC, further investigations are ongoing. The suspects will be arraigned in court as soon as investigation is completed,” an EFCC source stated.