More evidence of corrupt practices by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration may be tendered following a challenge by the former leader, it was learnt yesterday.
Federal Government sources said although there was no immediate plan to arrest or quiz the former President, the government had not ruled out the option.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo last week said N150 billion was withdrawn by the Jonathan administration two weeks before the 2015 election.
A fact-sheet by the Presidency revealed how some funds were illegally transported from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to the private residence of the former President.
A former National Security Adviser (NSA) personally supervised the physical transfer of the money from the CBN vaults to the private residence of the former President.
The document said: “In one particular instance, over N70 billion was released in parts from the national treasury between January 8 and February 25, 2015. The over $289m, which was also referenced last week by the Vice-President, is said to be included in this particular series of illegal transactions.
“Besides that, in another illegal disbursement, the minutes of the Central Bank board meeting of 25th August 2014 indicated the board endorsed another N60billion requested by the former President and released by the apex bank.
“The sum which was okayed by the CBN board, was not tied to any project or procurement, and was meant and disbursed purely for campaign purposes, through the office of the then NSA and the DSS leadership at the time.
“Specifically that N60billion that was okayed by the CBN on August 25, 2014 was said to have been shared between the two security agencies thus: N40billion went to the NSA while N20 billion was released to the State Security Services (SSS).”
A top government source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The Federal Government will release more evidence of looted funds either approved or traced to ex-President Jonathan if he continues to play to the gallery. The government is not out to persecute Jonathan but it may be compelled to lay the facts bare before the public.
“We have more evidence of approvals, withdrawal of funds, diversion of cash and other financial misdemeanors committed during Jonathan’s administration. The N130billion or N150billion in the public domain is a child’s play. And some past government officials did not even waste much time in returning looted funds to the treasury through plea bargain in court.
“There will soon be more revelations and more trials in the next few months. The official records are there for Nigerians to judge.
“Jonathan has been accorded enough respect due to his status as a former President but if he wants this administration to prove beyond reasonable doubt, he might have to face the consequences.
“While there is no clear plan to either arrest or quiz him, we cannot say that the option is not off- the-table completely. Some of the suspects on trial for $2.1billion arms deal have confessed that they acted on Jonathan’s instructions.”
The source added: “The disclosure by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on looted funds during Jonathan administration were only to point out the fact that this President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is different.
“It is incontrovertible that Jonathan administration made more money and wasted a lot. But the Buhari government has earned less but it is doing much more.”
Dr. Jonathan alleged a plot to tarnish his reputation.
In a post on his Facebook page, he said:
“It has been brought to my attention that while I am away promoting democracy in Sierra Leone, a campaign will be unleashed against me to falsely impugn my name, using both faceless and identified persons.
“When I was in power, I said my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Even out of power, I continue to hold that belief.
“What I will say, however, is that no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by truth.”
The source also clarified that while Jonathan was busy defending himself, his wife, Dame Patience had reached out to the government for “amicable resolution of all suspicious transactions and funds traced to her”. “We may be forced to release this evidence of rapprochement,” he said.
“In fact, the wife of the ex-President at a stage opted for an out-of-court settlement with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). This is incontrovertible because her lawyer wrote the anti-graft agency. About 31 individuals and companies paid over $11,489,069.03 into her two domiciliary accounts.
“Besides the cash, the EFCC traced 12 choice properties and a plot of land under construction to Mrs. Jonathan.
“This government has been modest in managing issues relating to looted funds identified with the former First Family. If Mrs. Jonathan had not gone to court to challenge the freezing of her accounts, she would have concluded the out-of-court settlement by now.” (The Nation)