Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will answer to allegations of corruption when he returns from his current trip to the United States, the Federal Government has said.
According to Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, who was speaking with State House correspondents on Friday, there is new evidence showing that Atiku received N156 slush funds in 2009, contributing to the collapse of Bank PHB.
“I have come to make few remarks about the recent visit of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party to the US. You can recall that few weeks ago, I did issue a statement advising the US government not to issue visa to Atiku,” Mohammed said.
“Remember also that in that same press conference, I also stated that it remains the prerogative of the US government to issue visa to anyone it deems fit.
“In any event, any time Abubakar returns home, he has questions to answer following the fresh evidence that we have that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of the former Bank PHB.
“The document we have, shows that he benefitted to the tune of N156 million from that slush fund. The paper, which we have here, started from an internal memo on January 13, 2009, which reads ‘please refer for discussion your requested overdraft in favour of Atiku Abubakar for N156 million and deliver same to me. Please note that it must be delivered today (January 13).’”
He added that on the same date, another memo was generated to confirm that the amount be issued from Claremont Management Services account.
“We have evidence here of the account mandate — the name of Atiku Abubakar — we also have a copy of the cheque in which the sum of N156 million was issued to Atiku Abubakar dated January 13, 2009 and of course we also have statement of account within that period that confirms that this sum was actually paid into his account.
“These are fresh evidence as to his involvement in the collapse of Bank PHB, so we want him to stay as long he wants in the US but as soon he comes back; he has to explain to the electorate and to Nigerians what is his role in the collapse in the former Bank PHB.”
Mohammed downplayed the signifance of Atiku’s visit to the US, saying: “Let me say right away that we are not perturbed one bit that Alhaji Atiku Abukakar was able to secure visa to the US.
“As a matter of fact, he can go ahead and get the US Green card that will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election. I want to remind Abubakar that the elections will be right here in Nigeria and not in the US.”