…alleges he defrauded Bank PHB
The Federal Government has accused former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of allegedly benefiting N156 million from a slush fund that led to the collapse of BankPHB. The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said this yesterday while briefing State House Correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The minister, who was reacting to the recent visit by the PDP presidential candidate to the United States of America, challenged him to return to the country and explain to Nigerians his role in the bankruptcy of BankPHB, now Key Stone Bank.
Mohammed said although his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari was not perturbed by the visit of Atiku to the US, he should hurry back to defend his position in the alleged huge corruption which led to the collapse of the bank. The minister had earlier raised concern on plans by the U.S government to issue a visa to the PDP presidential candidate. According to him, granting a visa to Atiku who has not travelled the US in the past 12 years will mean his endorsement for the 2019 general election by the Trump government.
The minister said: “I have come to make few remarks about the recent visit of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party to the US. You can recall that few weeks ago, I did issue a statement advising the US government not to issue visa to Atiku. “Remember also that in that same press conference, I also stated that it remains the prerogative of the US government to issue visa to anyone it deems fit. “Let me say right away that we are not perturbed one bit that Alhaji Atiku Abukakar was able to secure visa to the US. As a matter of fact, he can go ahead and get the US Green card that will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election.
I want to remind Abubakar that the elections will be right here in Nigeria and not in the US.” He explained further that the Federal Government had evidence, including a memo from Bank PHB dated January 13, 2009, requesting for N156million drawn from an account; Claremont Management Services to be credited in favour of the former Vice President. Lai also noted that the government was also in possession of a cheque dated the same day on the transaction in favour of the PDP presidential candidate.
Asked whether there were other beneficiaries of the slush funds, the minister said he was not only interested in the involvement of the former Vice President role in the alleged corruption which led to the collapse of the bank. The information minister said: “In any event, any time Abubakar returns home, he has questions to answer following the fresh evidence that we have that he benefit-ted from slush funds that led to the collapse of the former Bank PHB.
“The document we have shows that he benefitted to the tune of N156 million from that slush fund. The paper which we have here stated from an internal memo on the Jan. 13, 2009, in which reads; please refer for discussion your requested overdraft in favour of Atiku Abubakar for N156 million and deliver same to me. “Please note that it must be delivered today, January 13 on the same date, another memo was generated to confirm— please confirm that the amount stated below be issued from Claremont Management Services account.
“And we have evidence here of the account mandate— the name of Atiku Abubakar; we also have a copy of the cheque in which the sum of N156 million was issued to Atiku Abubakar dated Jan. 13, 2009 and of course we also have statement of account within that period that confirms that this sum was actually paid into his account. “These are fresh evidence as to his involvement in the collapse of Bank PHB, so we want to him to stay as long he wants in the US but as soon as he comes back; he has to explain to the electorate and to Nigerians what is his role in the collapse former Bank PHB.”