Jonathan And Ex Ministers Face Probe For Spending NNPC Funds

According to a report by The Punch, the ongoing
probe recently beamed its searchlight on the
alleged purchase of three mobile stages, costing
$6.9m, by the former President and two of his
officials, Gordon Obuah and Diezani Alison-
Madueke.
In a document obtained from a Presidency
source, the report revealed that the deal, which
is now a subject of investigation, was allegedly
carried out with funds withdrawn from one of
the numerous accounts of the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation.
The $6.9m (about N1.37bn) was said to have
been withdrawn for the purpose of buying three
pieces of 40-feet mobile stages for use by
Jonathan during mass public speaking events.
The document further revealed that apart from
the incredibly inflated sum for the stages,
there is currently no evidence that the stages
were bought since the money was withdrawn.

'While the cost of mobile stages ranges in sizes
and designs, only outlandish rock star
musicians in Europe and the US spend hundreds
of thousands on their huge stages way bigger
than the 40-feet stages.
'Even then, those musicians and superstars
would not pay over $2m per stage, according to
industry sources.
'The process of procurement of the three mobile
stages was neither known to extant Nigerian
laws and due process regulations nor were the
offices of the Auditor-General and the
Accountant-General in the know, according to
the investigators,' the document read in parts.
It further added that the phony purchase was
carried out late 2011 when Jonathan’s CSO was
said to have initiated a memo to the former
President on October 17, 2011, asking for the
purchase of three mobile stages.
He was reported to have written in that memo
to Jonathan that memo referred to “my earlier
discussion with Your Excellency on the security
implication of your public appearances and
your subsequent directive on the need to
procure a secured presidential platform.”


The Presidency source said on the same day,
without any financial advice or purchase order
reviews, the former President approved the
request to buy the three stages and minuted
the memo to the then Minister for Petroleum
Resources.
In his minute, Jonathan was said to have
written, “We have discussed this, please deal.”
According to the document, on the same
October 17, the Senior Special Assistant to the
President on Administrative Matters, Mr. Matt
Aikhionbere, did another letter on the strength
of the President’s approval requesting the
minister to take action on the request to
purchase the stages for $6.9m.
It added, “By the next month, an NNPC
payment voucher, number 3840336, was already
in place, revealing that the money was
released.
“NNPC directed that the money be taken from
one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK with
sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number
021000089.
“It was first routed from the US bank to an
NNPC account in Zenith Bank account number
5000026593, Maitama branch in Abuja, from
where the money was sent to a private account.
“The sum of $6.9m was then credited to a
Sterling Bank account of one J. Marine Logistics
Limited , Abuja, a company investigators said
was registered by Obuah.
“The CSO himself, according to investigators,
has not been able to show proof of the purchase
and his memo irked his bosses at the SSS that
he took the initiative to write requesting for the
stages, an action which officials said was way
above his pay grade.”
The document added that it was not the duty
or responsibility of the CSO to make the
determination on that purchase as he was
meant to have informed the service, which will
then review the situation and act accordingly.
It added that the $6.9miilion in question was
promptly paid on Nov. 29, 2011 into a private
account belonging to the former CSO.
“The former President approved the
procurement of the mobile platforms without
due process and bypassing the Procurement
Act; neither was there an appropriation in the
2011 budget for such facility,” the document
quoted investigators as saying.
It added that neither the then Minister of
Finance nor the Director-General of the Budget
Office was aware of the deal.
“Investigators say this is just one of the several
instances, where the Jonathan administration
used secret NNPC accounts to fund many
questionable projects and for alleged personal
financial aggrandisement.
“Already, the CSO has been questioned over his
role and activities in the Jonathan Presidency.
It will be recalled that he was arrested,
detained, questioned and later released.

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