October 20, 2016
Diezani's N23bn Bribe: EFCC Arrests 2 Enugu Commissioners
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested two Enugu State commissioners in connection with investigation into the $115m (N23billion) allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, during the buildup to 2015 presidential election.
The two commissioners arrested on Wednesday were Charles Egumgbe and Rita Mba.
Mr. Egumgbe, who is the Commissioner for Water Resources, was the chairman of PDP Campaign Office in the state during the countdown to the 2015 presidential election, while the Commissioner for Tourism, Mba, was the secretary.
Apart from Egumgbe and Mba, the Chairman of the PDP in the state during the general election, Ikeje Asogwa, was also arrested by the anti-graft agency over the matter.
Asogwa is currently the chairman of the board of Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board.
EFCC zonal head, South-East, Johnson Babalola, confirmed the arrests while addressing journalists in Enugu on Wednesday.
Mr. Babalola revealed that Egumgbe, Mba and Asogwa were detained and later released on bail.
Responding to questions from journalists, Babalola said, “They were detained, they made statements and they were later released on bail.”
He added that EFCC is still investigating a former Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, who was alleged to have received N450m out of the N23bn allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke.
When he was initially quizzed by EFCC over the campaign funds, Chime reportedly told detectives that he handed over the money to the secretary of the campaign office, Mba, who was also the state’s Commissioner for Special Duties and Inter-Government Affairs at the time.
Chime further stated that the money was brought by two of his former commissioners, Joe Nmamnel and Mba, in company with Asogwa and a PDP chieftain, Prof. Osita Ogbu.
The former governor was said to have stated that he gave the money to his orderly for safekeeping — with instructions that only Mba should have access to it to facilitate her work as the secretary of the campaign office.
But a source close to the government told The Punch that since the EFCC was already investigating the matter, it should conclude its investigations.
The source added that the commissioners, in their statements to the EFCC, denied Chime’s claims that they were the ones who handled the money.