Festus Keyamo, the minister of state for labour and employment has given 72 hours ultimatum to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICP) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to arrest Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP) over alleged ‘criminal breaches’.
Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) gave the ultimatum in a letter dated Monday, January 16 and addressed to the chairmen of EFCC, ICPC and CBC, a copy of which was sighted by journalists in Abuja.
The spokesperson of All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential campaign council said Atiku should be arrested and prosecuted for offences against the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Money Laundering, Criminal Breach of Trust and Criminal Misappropriation, and Conspiracy.
Keyamo informed the agencies of grave revelations by a whistle-blower, Michael Achimugu, who in a trending video in the past weeks provided oral evidence as to how Atiku as vice president between 1999 and 2007, colluded with his then boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, to fleece the country and steal public funds using what he termed “Special Purpose Vehicles” (SPVs).
“Those SPVs were companies Atiku admittedly registered upon assumption of office as Vice-President (with the approval of President Olusegun Obasanjo) using “trusted allies” as shareholders and Directors.
“The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as “consultants” and then paid monies into these companies and used those monies to fund the PDP and their private businesses and family activities.
“We can all vividly recall that during that tenure, both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar built the Bells University and American University respectively. Now, we know from where the funds came.
“We hereby make available Certified True Copies of the affidavit sworn to and released to the public by the whistleblower, Michael Achimugu, giving graphic details of all that transpired, including attached documents. Let us also play to you the voice recording he did of Atiku Abubakar. Note that he provided the time of the call, the phone number used and the emails immediately preceding the call,” the letter read.
The APC campaign spokesperson said from the evidence available, Atiku be prosecuted for the violation of Sections 5, 10, 13 & 17 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act; Section 18 (2) of The Money Laundering (Prevention And Prohibition Act), 2022, Section 311 of the Penal Code Law, and Section 96 (1) of The Penal Code Act In Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the APC presidential campaign council asked Atiku to immediately tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerians and step down from the presidential race forthwith and hand himself over to the law enforcement agencies in the light of those revelations.
The council made the call at a press conference in Abuja, jointly addressed by the spokespersons of the council; Dele Alake, Keyamo, Bayo Onanuga, Femi Fani-Kayode and Idris Mohammed.
According to them Atiku does not enjoy any immunity and should be prosecuted with contemplation that he is a presidential candidate.
“We understand that the law enforcement agencies may be reluctant to act simply because of the perception of persecution of a Presidential candidate that this may evoke. However, facts are sacred. The facts so far presented to the world clearly indicate that Atiku Abubakar has a case to answer. In other climes when such serious allegations arose in the middle of campaigns, the law-enforcement agencies acted decisively.
“You may recall that, in 2016, in the middle of campaigns for the exalted office of the Presidency of the United States, the FBI opened an investigation into allegations of misuse of private emails against Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. In fact, the case was referred to the Justice Department for likely prosecution a few weeks to actual voting.
“Though she was later cleared, it bears restating that a sane and dispassionate system never allowed such side talks to dissuade or distract them from initiating a process of investigation. It is the minimum expected in a constitutional democracy. That is what we call on the authorities to do in the case of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.”
They said the issue of the Marine Float Account is not new to Nigerians and in the voice note, released by Achimugu, Atiku can be heard boasting that the issue of that account was thoroughly investigated by EFCC, yet then he was smart enough to escape.
“However, we note that in 2006, at the height of his public quarrel with Obasanjo over the sharing of money, the same PDP officially asked Atiku Abubakar to refund N500 million taken from that account.
“In the circumstance, since the nation now knows that the Marine Float Account and other similar accounts were ‘SPV’ accounts, it follows that all payments made into that account were monies stolen from the public coffers. Therefore, we call on all security agencies to recover all monies withdrawn from that account by anyone for that matter,” the spokespersons said.
They also said, between 1999 and 2007, Obasanjo and Atiku ran a criminal enterprise and an empire of fraud in Abuja at the same time Bola Tinubu was toiling very hard, dutifully and meticulously laying the foundation to rebuild Lagos State.
“Following these revelations, it becomes clear that Atiku Abubakar has absolutely nothing to campaign on again as the period of 1999 – 2007 that he always relies on can now be described by Nigerians as the “SPV years” when they ran Nigeria aground.
“That whilst President Obasanjo and Atiku deprived the good people of Lagos State their Local Government monthly allocations even after the Supreme Court ordered the release of the funds, they were busy stealing the nation’s resources by stealth in Abuja.
“That the real, dark reason for the seemingly irreconcilable quarrel between President Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar is disagreement over monies they both stole in the ‘SPV’ accounts at that time,” the team added, calling for the protection of the whistleblower, Achimugu.