…Says,‘I Have Nothing To Hide’
FROM all indications, President Muhammadu Buhari may have begun probing the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan going by the invitation of his former aide on the Niger Delta amnesty programme, Kingsley Kuku, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday.
Kuku, who managed the programme for former militants for over four years, is, however, far away abroad on a trip for knee surgery and has informed the commission that he would be available for interrogation by September 30.
Although he could not be reached directly, one of his aides, who told The Guardian on telephone that Kuku has nothing to hide and is willing to cooperate with the anti-graft agency.
“He is abroad for knee surgery. He left Nigeria on Wednesday and this invitation came on Thursday.
“After his surgery, he will need some time to recuperate and so his lawyer has written to the EFCC to allow him honour the invitation by September 30,” he explained.
The invitation letter from EFCC, which was made available to The Guardian, indicated that Kuku was being invited for stealing, conspiracy, diversion of public funds and abuse of office.
The invitation letter was signed by Head of Economic Governance, Olufunke Ogunbode.
When contacted, the commission’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said Kuku was required to report at the EFCC office for interrogation on July 28.
He noted that the interrogation would be based on some allegations bordering on his tenure as the chairman of the amnesty programme.
There have been reports that fresh crises were brewing in the Niger Delta because the programme had not been paying the tuition fees and monthly allowances of its beneficiaries in higher institutions abroad.
Thirteen of its trainee pilots with Lufthansa airline of Germany were also reported to have been out of school due to non-payment of their fees.
But Head of Communication at the Amnesty Office, Daniel Alanrah, told The Guardian that the problem with the programme was not non-availability of funds, but the fact that there has been no approving authority for the funds to be disbursed, as a new chairman has not been appointed for the programme.
According to him, there is over N11 billion in the accounts of the Amnesty Office, but the ex-militants cannot be paid because there is no chairman to approve payment.
“In fact, even the staff have not received salaries since May because of this issue. The last time we were paid was in April.
“It is not as if the amnesty programme does not have funds, but because there is no approving authority for payment to be made.
“In fact, the Amnesty Office has N11 billion now,” he said.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency is also said to have grilled Baraka Sani, a former special assistant to President Jonathan on the Schools and Agricultural programme, who was questioned for over 10 hours on Wednesday, July 22 regarding allegations that she diverted funds earmarked for the schools’ agricultural programme.
She has been released on administrative bail to enable her return with documents to explain her role in what is believed to be a “mega scam.”