2011: I Will Take Corrupt Politicians’ Money For My Campaign – Ribadu…Clears Mrs Jonathan Of Corruption Charges
Barring any last minute change of plan, former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu will next week formally declare his ambition to contest Nigeria’s presidency on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in next year’s general elections. Ahead of likely questions that will confront him when his campaign which is being funded by former Lagos governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, kicks off next week, Ribadu told a bewildered gathering of journalists put together by Tinubu in Wuse area of Abuja today that he would not bother himself with the integrity profile of politicians that will sponsor his campaign as long as he would not keep their stolen money in his pocket.
The former anti-graft czar said this to justify his alliance with Tinubu and his decision to allow the former governor fund his presidential campaigns. Recall that Ribadu had in the hollow chambers of the Senate while briefing the lawmakers of his Commission’s anti-corruption activities on September 27, 2006 indicted Tinubu of corruption by describing him as a looter with international dimension. Though he pleaded with the journalists comprising mainly of bureau chiefs of media organisations in Abuja not to report this aspect of his statement to them, he however gave them the permission of yet another bombshell he dropped to highlight the high degree of contradictions in his personality when he cleared the first lady of Nigeria, Dame Patience Jonathan of corruption charges.
While answering questions from the media men numbering over 30 at about 12noon at a club house opposite the popular Penniel Apartments in Wuse, Ribadu declared that before he vacated office in 2008 he had concluded investigations into the N104 million and $13.5million money laundering charges against Mrs Jonathan and consequently cleared her of any complicity in the fraud allegations. He said it was the political opponents of the Jonathan family that magnified the N104 million allegation and also conjured the $13.5 million money laundering case against the first family of Bayelsa then when Jonathan wanted to contest for the state governorship election in 2007. His claims today however contradicted his earlier statements on some of the controversial issues raised at his media parley today. It will be recalled that Mr Ribadu had pointedly accused Mrs Jonathan of money laundering in 2007 and went ahead to file charges against her at a federal high court in Abuja.
The controversy started on September 11, 2006, when the then EFCC spokesman, Mr Osita Nwaja issued a statement to declare that a whopping sum of 13.5 million US Dollars was seized from Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of then Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. Until now, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu has neither made any known public denial of this declaration nor has the EFCC issued any statement of rebuttal.
Quoting Ribadu vertim on this in his testimony before the senate on September 27, 2006, he said “Abia is number one (of corrupt state) not because it is number one alphabetically, but because we have one of the biggest established cases of stealing, money laundering, diversion of fund against Governor Kalu. The governor used his mother, daughter, wife and brother to divert N35billion to build his business empire including Slok Airlines, Slok Pharmaceuticals and newspaper house…Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu corruption is of international dimension.There is s also a petition against the Governor of Bayelsa’s wife. She was involved in laundering the sum of one hundred and four million into foreign account. She is also being investigated.”
Beyond this claim, Ribadu actually went ahead to file charges in a suit number FHC/ABJ/M/340/06 filed on August 21, 2007 at the Federal High Court, Abuja. In the suit, Ribadu had named Mrs. Patience Jonathan, as an accomplice in the N104 million-money laundering case involving Mrs. Nancy Ebere Nwosu. The said money as reveled by the Ribadu-led EFCC then was on the order of Mrs Patience Goodluck, laundered into a First Bank of Nigeria account number 3292010060711 held in the name of Nansolyvan Public Relations Limited by one Hanner Offor. As a result, the EFCC’s affidavit used in supporting the suit’s originating summons, filed by the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Ofem Uket declared that: “Our investigations revealed that Mrs. Patience Jonathan, wife of the Governor of Bayelsa State, was the person who instructed one Hanner Offor to launder the said sum of N104, 000, 000 into the account of Nansolyvan Public Relations Limited with First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FBN), Niger House, Marina, Lagos.” In spite of all this documentary evidence authored by Mr Ribadu as EFCC chairman, he has today made a unique somersault by declaring Mrs Jonathan innocent on all the charges!