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EFCC Chairman-Abdulraheed Bawa

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has launched a discreet investigation into the finances of the 18 political parties in the country and their presidential aspirants. This followed the humongous fees paid for expression of interest and nomination forms by aspirants vying for various elective offices in the parties.

The anti-graft agency has, therefore, asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to furnish it with the bank accounts and other financial details of the political parties.

It also asked the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank to provide the details of the 14 accounts operated by the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party and another organisation believed to be connected to the opposition party.

While the ruling APC sold its presidential forms for N100m, the main opposition party pegged its forms at N40m.In addition, the APC governorship aspirants paid N50m, while persons who declared for the Senate, House of Representatives and state Houses of Assembly paid N20m, N10m and N2m, respectively for their nomination and expression of interest forms.

On the other hand, the PDP sold its governorship forms for N21m; Senate, N3.5m; House of Representatives, N2.5m; and state Houses of Assembly, N600,000.

While the other parties charged lesser amounts for their forms, the exorbitant nomination fees charged by the two dominant parties angered many Nigerians with Transparency International describing the development as a form of money laundering.

The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, last week hinted on a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today, that the commission would monitor campaign finances, including the legitimacy of the funds used to purchase nomination forms ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Bawa said the commission would be working with INEC and other election-related organisations to track the sources of the money spent on the purchase of nomination forms.

He noted, “When it comes to the issue of monitoring election funds as well as candidates’ funds that has to do with the work of INEC in this regard. But, of course, we are working hand in glove with INEC and other related agencies in that field to ensure that we follow the money.

“We want to know the source, whether it is legitimate or illegitimate, because that is what concerns us.”

Findings by Saturday PUNCH, however, indicated that the agency had begun a forensic investigation and tracking of the finances of the political organisations and interest groups.

The EFCC, in a letter to the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, dated May 9, 2022, signed by its Director of Operations, Michael Wetkas, on behalf of the chairman, demanded a list of all political parties, their designated bank accounts and any other information that could aid its investigation.

The letter, with reference number CB.3383/EFCC/HOPS/HQ/VOL.1/28, titled, ‘Investigation activities’, read, “The commission is conducting an inquiry in which the need to obtain certain information from your commission is imperative. In view of the foregoing, you are requested to kindly avail the following information: list of all registered political parties; list of designated accounts submitted by the political parties to your commission; any other information that may assist the commission in its investigation.

“This request is made pursuant to sections 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004. While thanking you immensely for your continuous cooperation and collaboration, please accept the assurances of the chairman’s esteemed regards.”

The EFCC in another letter, also signed by the Head of Operations, informed the managing directors of Access Bank and Polaris Bank in Abuja that it was investigating 14 accounts of the two dominant parties.

According to the letters, the investigation involves accounts 0692988080, 0035644896 and 0044183689 in Access Bank belonging to the APC; an account with number 0054586830 owned by the National Secretariat of the PDP, and three other accounts by Umbrella Trust Limited – 0076600091, 0066988655 and 0068595990.

In Polaris Bank, one of the accounts belongs to the APC (1771444115), while two are operated by the PDP – 1140060876 and 1770319690 – and four by the ‘PDP Fund Raising Dinner’ – 1771643176, 177647521, 177164514 and 1771647507.

Wetkas wrote, “The commission is investigating a case in which the above-mentioned account names and numbers featured.

“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to forward the certified true copies of the following: Account opening packages/mandate cards; statement of account from January 2021 to date (hard and soft copies). The soft copy should be copied to excel format and forwarded to”

The letter also requested the certificate of identification pursuant to Section 84(4) of the Evidence Act, 2011. (The certifying officer should include his full name, designation, signature and date on each page). The commission also requested the banks to furnish it with any other relevant information that could assist the investigation.

Support groups may be probed for money laundering

Saturday PUNCH also gathered that the probe might also extend to the various support groups, which bought nomination forms for aspirants.

Our correspondent learnt that the EFCC was working on signals that the interest groups were being used to carry out money laundering activities.

For instance, a group known as the Association of Fulani-Almajiri, which is a northern group comprising nomadic pastoralists and Almajiri communities, on Monday obtained the N100m APC presidential forms for former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The group said it paid the exorbitant price of the forms with funds raised from the sale of cows to ensure that Jonathan, whom it described as the best President for Nigeria, returns to Aso Rock in 2023.

Similarly, three interest groups, the Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Emefiele Support Group and Friends of Godwin, purchased the presidential nomination forms for the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele.

Also, a coalition of 28 groups, including the Youth Arise Movement, Nigerians in Diaspora, One Nigeria Group, Prudent Youth Association of Nigeria, as well as women groups and farmers reportedly procured the APC presidential forms for the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, last Saturday in Abuja.

Similarly, the Tinubu Support Organisation procured the N100m forms for a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The leadership of the South-West Agenda for Asiwaju led the groups that picked the forms for Tinubu, who was at the time in Saudi Arabia for the lesser hajj.

The Director-General, TSO, Aminu Suleiman, said the groups paid for the forms because they were sure that Tinubu would win. “I, Hon. Aminu Suleiman would like to officially state that I have signed a cheque to the tune of 100 million naira for the purchase of nomination and expression of interest forms for our leader @officialABAT. God bless,” he tweeted.

No fewer than 28 aspirants bought the APC presidential forms, which closed on Friday.

The trend of groups purchasing forms for aspirants did not start this year. In 2018, the Nigeria Consolidation Ambassadors Network purchased the N45m presidential form of the APC for the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), when he was gunning for a second term.

In the PDP, no fewer than 17 aspirants purchased the party’s N40m forms, two of whom were screened out.

They are governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State; and Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; investment banker and economist, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen; and a former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi.

Others are a former Senate President, Pius Anyim; ex-President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Sam Ohuabunwa; a United States-based medical doctor, Nwachukwu Anakwenze; the Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu; former Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Cosmos Ndukwe; Charles Ugwu and Chikwendu Kalu.

Also in the race are former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; a former Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, and the only female presidential aspirant in the party, Teriela Oliver.

When asked to respond to the ongoing probe, the spokesman for the APC, Felix Morka, said he was in a meeting and promised to speak later. He had yet to respond to a text message sent to him on the issue as of the time of filing this report.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, declined comment, saying he was not aware of the EFCC investigation. “I’m not aware of it and I don’t want to comment on it,” he said on the telephone on Friday.

Tracking of campaign finances not a witch-hunt, says REC

The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Prof Abdulganiyu Raji, has said tracking the campaign finances of political parties by the commission is not a witch-hunt against any individual or group.

Speaking in Osogbo on Friday during a sensitisation workshop for political parties on campaign finance tracking ahead of the governorship election on July 16, Raji stated, “One of the mandates of INEC, apart from the conduct of elections, is to track the finances of political parties with a view to knowing how good they are faring as far as their finances are concerned, in addition to being able to assist them in planning their activities.

“Tracking the finances of political parties is not a witch-hunt. It is for better understanding of the financial activities of the parties. What we do is to track the campaign finances (inflow and outflow) and report to the appropriate quarters in INEC.”

The REC said the commission had earlier organised a similar training for some of its senior staff members in the state, adding, “Today, we are not tracking the finances of these political parties; we are actually taking them through the processes and procedures, and all the necessary techniques that they will need to track their own finances.

“While they are doing it on their own, we will also be doing our own independently. We at INEC submit our reports to the appropriate quarters, but for political parties, in addition to submitting their reports to us, they will also be able to use them for planning their activities. I believe that if they pay attention at the workshop, it will be of benefit to them.”

Raji added that the workshop was usually organised for political parties and candidates before every election.


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Operatives of the Department of State Security have stormed the Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, preventing officials of the anti-graft agency from gaining access to their office in Ikoyi, Lagos.

Impeccable sources in both agencies told The PUNCH that there has been an ongoing rivalry between the DSS and the EFCC over the ownership of the building.

Our correspondent gathered that the DSS operatives stormed the office around 7:00 am on Tuesday, and refused to leave despite dialogue between operatives of both agencies, an impeccable source confirmed the development to our correspondent in a telephone interview.

An official of the EFCC who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said, “There’s been a running battle between us and the DSS over who owns the office because the office was used by them before the EFCC came on board and it was handed over to us.

“But it’s been an administrative issue, and the matter is not in court and hasn’t caused any fracas before now. But we don’t understand why they have to block our office and deny our officials access when a new government just came in.”

“The office used to be ours, and we have been fighting over it for years now, and the EFCC knows,” a DSS source said.

Meanwhile, spokespersons for both agencies, Wilson Uwujaren of the EFCC, and Dr Peter Afunaya of the DSS did not respond to inquiries by our correspondent over the development.

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•Records N32trn revenue, spends N68tn 

The Federal Government has incurred a deficit spending of N36.8 trillion in eight years under the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari from 2015 to 2022.

Vanguard analysis of data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Federal Government finances from 2015 to 2022 revealed that 77 per cent of the deficit spending occurred in the last four years, from 2019 to 2022.

The data revealed that total revenue for the eight years stood at N32.05 trillion, while total expenditure during the period stood at N68.8 trillion, indicating  deficit spending of N36.8 trillion.

In the first four years, 2015 to 2018, the government recorded N13.9 trillion as revenue but spent N24.3 trillion, resulting in deficit spending of N10.4 trillion.

However, the deficit spending jumped by 60 per cent in the last four years, 2019 to 2022. 

Compared to the previous four years, revenue rose by 31 percent to N18.2 trillion, while expenditure rose by 83 percent to N44.5trillion. Consequently, deficit spending rose to N26.4 trillion, translating to 60 percent increase when compared with the previous four years.

Further analysis showed that over 22 per cent of the eight year deficit spending was incurred in 2022 alone.

During the year, the Federal Government’s revenue grew by 14.7 per cent to N5.05 trillion from N4.4 trillion in 2021, while expenditure stood at N13.4 trillion in 2022, up by 14.5 percent from N11.7 trillion in 2021.

As a result, the government incurred N8.3 trillion as deficit spending, representing a 13.6 per cent increase from N7.3 trillion in 2021.       

Fuel subsidy

A major factor behind the spike in deficit spending is the steady and sharp increase in fuel subsidy spending which stood at N9.34 trillion in the eight years from 2015 to 2022.

Vanguard analysis revealed that annual fuel subsidy spending shot up by 571 per cent to N4.39 trillion in 2022 from N654 billion in 2015. 

National debt rises 267%

Given that the N36.8 trillion deficit incurred in the eight year period was financed by borrowing, total debt stock, according to data from the Debt Management Office, DMO, rose sharply by 267 per cent or N33.65 trillion to N46.25 trillion in 2022 from N12.6 trillion in 2015. This excludes the N23 trillion borrowed from CBN as Ways and Means. 

IMF, World Bank 

According to the World Bank, the rise in deficit spending as well as the huge debt stock will worsen except the government goes ahead with the proposed removal of fuel subsidy, even as it recommended other measures to strengthen the economy.

The World Bank stated in the Macro Poverty Outlook for Nigeria: April 2023 brief released last month: “The fiscal position deteriorated. In 2022, the cost of petrol subsidy increased from 0.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent of GDP. Low non-oil revenues and high-interest payments compounded fiscal pressures.

“The fiscal deficit was estimated at 5.0 per cent of GDP in 2022, breaching the stipulated limit for a federal fiscal deficit of 3 per cent.

“This has kept the public debt stock at over 38 per cent of GDP and pushed the debt service to revenue ratio from 83.2 per cent in 2021 to 96.3 per cent in 2022.

“Fiscal and debt pressures will increase if the petrol subsidy is not phased out in June 2023, as envisaged in the 2023 Budget.”

Similarly, the International Monetary Fund, IMF, in its Nigeria: 2022 Article IV Consultation, stated: “Directors highlighted the need for bold fiscal reforms to create needed policy space, put public debt on sound footing, and reduce vulnerabilities. 

“They urged the authorities to deliver on their commitment to remove fuel subsidies by mid-2023, and to increase well-targeted social spending.

“Strengthening revenue mobilization, including through tax administration reforms, expanding the tax automation system and strengthening taxpayer segmentation, and improving tax compliance is also a priority.”

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Adeyemi Adeniran, the father of a student of Chrisland High School Opebi, Whitney, who died during the school’s sporting activities at Agege Stadium, Lagos State, on Thursday, told a High Court sitting in the Ikeja area of the state that he got to know his 12-year-old daughter was electrocuted through a group created on a social media application known as Snapchat.

In his narration to Justice Oyindamola Ogala, the deceased’s father said he was at work when his wife, Blessing, called and informed him that she was told that their daughter, who left home very healthy, slumped at the stadium and was rushed to the hospital.

Adeyemi said his wife told him that the principal of the school said Whitney was already regaining consciousness when they rushed her to the Agege Central Hospital.

He said, “I dropped everything I was doing, and proceeded to Agege. It took me 45 minutes to locate the place. When I arrived, I saw my wife and she told me to go inside and pray for my daughter, maybe she will wake up. When I got inside, I saw her lifeless body on a table in a small room.

“I went close to my daughter, raised her up to my body, shouted, tapped her to wake up, prayed but nothing happened. I asked for the doctor of the facility and knelt down before the woman (doctor) to do whatever she could do to wake my daughter but she said there was nothing to do and that she was brought in dead.

“I asked what happened to my daughter and the nurse said she slumped. She said she was already dilated and that she died at the stadium but she could not pronounce her dead because she is not a medical doctor. So I said you only brought her (here) to pronounce her dead, and she said yes.”

As he was engaging the nurse, Whitney’s father said the doctor in charge of the clinic informed him that they needed to wrap the corpse of his daughter, requested money and he gave her N15,000.

He explained that he informed some of his friends about the tragedy that befell his daughter, and they met him at the hospital and advised him to report at the police station.

While making plans to go to the station, Adeyemi said the doctor requested seeing him privately, and during the meeting, advised him not to waste time in burying Whitney’s corpse.

The bereaved father said, “She really persuaded me. She said I should bury her on time and not put her corpse in the morgue and bother to conduct an examination. I nearly agreed at a point, I don’t even know of any morgue.

“Prior to that day, we played together, and she (Whitney) never complained of ill health. I started asking myself why I should bury my daughter in a hurry without knowing what happened to her.

“But she (the doctor) said the money and pain I will go through in the process of autopsy. I told her what other pain is worse than the death of a child and how much money will I spend to bring her back alive. I said I must get to know what happened.”

Adeyemi told the court that around 7pm on that fateful day, Whitney’s corpse was taken to the LASUTH, where a pathologist advised them to write a petition in a bid to get the autopsy done.

Narrating further, Adeyemi said he was persuading his wife to sleep when Whitney’s phone started making noise.

He explained that when the deceased’s sister, Amaka, used a password to unlock the phone, they discovered a school snap chat group called ‘Lagos Housewives.

The witness said some of Whitney’s colleagues, who sent messages to the group, said they knew the school would not tell them the truth, adding that one of the students revealed that his daughter was electrocuted.

He said, “The student wrote, ‘We are there, and we saw what happened, she was electrocuted.’ Another one said she saw Whitney on the iron rail close to the candy machine that she wanted to buy and that wire shocked her and she fell to the ground, started foaming in her mouth and one stupid man came and started putting water on her.”

The prosecution tendered the printed copy of the messages posted on the snap chat group and further told the court when the school management came for a condolence visit, they told the family not to go on social media.

While being cross-examined by the defendants’ counsels, Mrs Bimpe Ajegbomogun and Chief Richard Ahonarougho (SAN), the witness said his daughter was never a sickle-cell patient.

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