2.1 Billion Arms Scandal: “How We Spent Money” — Northern Elders Confess

3 Apr 2016

2.1 Billion Arms Scandal: “How We Spent Money” — Northern Elders Confess


In what appears to be a  twist  to  the lingering controversy over the propriety or otherwise of the investigation into the $2.1 billion arms scandal linked to the campaign activities of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 general elections, the Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has released the details of how his group expended the N53m disbursed to it in tranches for the elections.

The NEF Chairman confirmed that  a former Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony  Anenih, spent his money  on  the assignment on the instruction of then President Goodluck Jonathan .

The former presidential adviser told Sunday Vanguard, in an exclusive chat, that he was making the details  available to the world to correct  the  information in the public domain that the funds made available to his group were part of the $2.1 billion arms money.

Indeed, many PDP leaders are questioning the propriety of the conclusions of the investigation into the activities in the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, which claimed that some individuals received funds without contracts or that contracts were awarded without documentation or that some of the contracts awarded were bogus.

Names of those who allegedly collected funds from the ONSA have already been published. It is against this backdrop – just as  Anenih had made it clear that he was not in a position to ask President Jonathan where funds for the repayment of campaign costs he had incurred would come from – that  Yakassai gave an activity-by-activity breakdown of the expenditure. In fact, the breakdown of the expenditure profile by  the Yakassai group indicated that there is an outstanding balance of N16 million to be claimed.

Yakassai, who  made the document  of the breakdown available to Sunday Vanguard, revealed thus:
Please find below full statement of the expenses incurred during our tour of 17 northern states and the FCT, sponsored by Chief Tony Anenih, on the directive of former President Goodluck Jonathan from January 14 to February 14, 2015.
According to Yakassai,
States visited were Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Katsina, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger, Ilorin, BenueBenue, Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe.
He identified members of his team as Alhaji Sule Iyaji; Senator Abubakar D. Sodangi; Ambassador M.Z. Anka; Chief John Mankilik; Alhaji Sulaiman Lawal; Dr. Luka Bahago; and Barrister Bitrus Gwadah, Personal Assistant, with himself as team leader.

The  elder statesman said members’ allowance @ N250,000 for eight members for 21 days  came to N42,000,000. He disclosed that return tickets  for  Abuja-Sokoto, Abuja-Kano, Abuja-Ilorin, Abuja-Yola/Jallingo Abuja-Bauchi/Gombe plane trips  were at a cost of N50,000 and the total came to N2,250,000.

Yakassai put hotel accommodation of N30,000 per night for nine persons for five nights.

The  elder statesman further said payments to personal assistants was N20,000 per person, while the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, delegation from Plateau State, which visited  Anenih, got N2,000,000.

By the standards of those involved, Yakassai suggested that the expenditure pattern was modest.

However, like the former PDP BoT Chairman  said of the outstanding funds yet to be paid to him, the NEF Chairman put the outstanding claims for his assisgnment at N16,850,000.

The breakdown for this, according to Yakassai, is as follows: Car hire for seven persons for 25 days at N50,000 totals N8,750,000, accommodation at other places N6,000,000 and Plateau Special Delegation got N2,100,000.

He said the idea behind the release of the details of the expenses of his committee was “just for the record”.

As of now, tongues are wagging with respect to the aim behind the names published as co-schemers in the arms scandal as some PDP leaders demand that fund dispensed to them were for campaign purposes and nobody asked where the funds were being sourced from.

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