Diezani’s N450m cash: EFCC examines ex-gov’s signature

Abuja—The probe of former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, (retd) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over allegation of collecting and disbursing the state’s share of N450 million for campaigns ahead of last year’s Presidential election, has taken a criminal dimension. The former Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, who was invited to the EFCC Zonal Office in Port Harcourt, in connection with the receipt of the cash, is said to have pleaded his innocence during interrogation and insisted that he neither received nor shared the N450 million allocated to the state by the embattled former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke. EFCC sources confirmed to Vanguard that the operatives were looking into the claim that some powerful officials in the state forged Nkanga’s signature as the State Coordinator of Subsidy Reinvestments Programmes Coordinator, SURE-P, and collected the N450 million without his knowledge. EFCC operatives EFCC operatives The bank officials, who had earlier been questioned separately, had confirmed to EFCC interrogators that they, indeed delivered the N450 million meant for Akwa Ibom State in a bullion van to Government House, Uyo on the order of a senior aide to the governor. The latest finding contradicts earlier claim that the money was paid to Nkanga by one Saint-Anthony Ejiowu, a staff of Uyo branch of Fidelity Bank, which handled the disbursement of the N23 billion cash to Peoples Democratic Party, PDP state leaders in the heat of the presidential election. A top source in the commission said: “We have since discovered that the SURE-P ID card of the former governor was merely used as a receipt to collect the money and we want to know the actual person who received the first tranche of the N350 million on March 27, 2015, and the second tranche of N100 million on March 31, 2015. “We are trying to establish if, indeed, the signature used in the paper acknowledging the receipt of the cash on the two different days was taken from Nkanga’s SURE-P ID card and merely superimposed on the receipt. “We are equally investigating if the bank official actually delivered all the cash claimed, who the money was delivered to at Government House and if there was any connection among the bank, Government House and the SURE-P office in Uyo, where Nkanga served as coordinator.” Based on the twist in the investigation, the EFCC confirmed yesterday that it had delayed the appearance of the former military governor before its interrogators to enable them to get to the truth of the matter. Whereas the former governor was billed to appear before the interrogators in Port Harcourt last Monday, the EFCC has asked him to wait until next week, apparently to establish the true identity of those who collected the N450 million allocated to the state and whether anyone forged his signature to collect the money. Efforts to speak with the former governor proved abortive as calls and sms to his phones were not responded to at press time.
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