The Joint Media Directorates said this at a World Press Conference in Abuja today, 16 January 2023. “Those SPVs were companies Atiku admittedly registered upon assumption of office as Vice-President (with the approval of President Olusegun Obasanjo) using “trusted allies” as shareholders and Directors. The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as “consultants” and then pay monies into these companies to fund the PDP and their private businesses and family activities. We can all vividly recall that during that tenure, both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar built the Bells University and American University respectively. Now, we know from where the funds came.
Below is their presentation.
FACTS OF THE MATTER
For about a week now, Nigerians have been in deep shock over the grave revelations by a whistle-blower, Mr. Michael Achimugu, who has provided the nation with iron-cast evidence of letters of appointment by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, emails, documents, audio clips, sworn affidavit and direct oral evidence as to how Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (who happens to be the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party) during his tenure as Vice-President of Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, colluded with his then boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to fleece the country and steal public funds using what he termed “Special Purpose Vehicles” (SPVs).
Those SPVs were companies Atiku admittedly registered upon assumption of office as Vice-President (with the approval of President Olusegun Obasanjo) using “trusted allies” as shareholders and Directors. The purpose was to divert government contracts to these companies as “consultants” and then pay monies into these companies to fund the PDP and their private businesses and family activities. We can all vividly recall that during that tenure, both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar built the Bells University and American University respectively. Now, we know from where the funds came.
We hereby make available Certified True Copies of the affidavit sworn to and released to the public by the whistleblower, Mr. Michael Achimugu, giving graphic details of all that transpired, including attached documents. Let us also play to you the voice recording he did of Atiku Abubakar. Note that he provided the time of the call, the phone number used and the emails immediately preceding the call.
POSSIBLE INFRACTIONS OF THE LAW
From the oral account of the whistle-blower, the voice notes and all other supporting documents, these are the possible infractions of the law Atiku Abubakar has committed and we urge his prosecution along these areas:
- OFFENCES AGAINST THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS
Sections 5, 10, 13 & 17 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act states as follows:
- “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities.
- (1) A public officer shall not ask for or accept property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, the receipt by a public officer of any gifts or benefits from commercial firms, business enterprises or persons who have contracts with the government shall be presumed to have been received in contravention of the said subsection (1) of this section, unless the contrary is proved.
- A public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any act prejudicial to the rights of any other person, knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy.
- A public officer who does any act prohibited by this Act through a nominee, trustee or other agent shall be deemed ipso facto to have committed a breach of this Act.”
- OFFENCE OF MONEY LAUNDERING.
Section 18 (2) of The Money Laundering (Prevention And Prohibition Act), 2022
(2) “Any person or body corporate, in or outside Nigeria, who directly or indirectly—
(a) conceals or disguises the origin of,
(b) converts or transfers,
(c) removes from the jurisdiction, or
(d) acquires, uses, retains or takes possession or control of any fund or property, intentionally, knowingly or reasonably ought to have known that such fund or property is, or forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, commits an offence of money laundering under this Act.”
- OFFENCE OF CRIMINAL BREACH OF TRUST
Section 311 of the Penal Code Law reads thus-
“Whoever, being in any manner entrusted with property or with any dominion over property, dishonestly misappropriates or converts to his own use that property or dishonestly uses or disposes of that property in violation of any direction of law prescribing the mode in which such trust is to be discharged or of any legal contract express or implied, which he has made touching the discharge of such trust, or wilfully suffers any other person so to do, commits criminal breach of trust.”
- OFFENCE OF CONSPIRACY
Section 96 (1) of The Penal Code Act In Nigeria
“When two or more persons, agree to do or cause to be done
(a) an illegal act ; or
(b an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is called a criminal conspiracy.”
ATIKU DOES NOT ENJOY IMMUNITY SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
We understand that the law enforcement agencies may be reluctant to act simply because of the perception of persecution of a Presidential candidate that this may evoke.
However, facts are sacred. The facts so far presented to the world clearly indicate that Atiku Abubakar has a case to answer. In other climes when such serious allegations arose in the middle of campaigns, the law-enforcement agencies acted decisively. You may recall that, in 2016, in the middle of campaigns for the exalted office of the Presidency of the United States, the FBI opened investigation into allegation of misuse of private emails against Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State. In fact, the case was referred to the Justice Department for likely prosecution few weeks to actual voting. Though, she was later cleared, it bears restating that a sane and dispassionate system never allowed such side talks to dissuade or distract them from initiating a process of investigation. It is the minimum expected in a constitutional democracy. That is what we call on the authorities to do in the case of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
RECOVERY OF ALL MONIES IN MARINE FLOAT ACCOUNT
The issue of the Marine Float Account is not new to Nigerians. In the voice note, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar can be heard boasting that the issue of that account was thoroughly investigated by EFCC, yet then he was smart enough to escape.
However, we note that in 2006, at the height of his public quarrel with Obasanjo over the sharing of money, the same PDP officially asked Atiku Abubakar to refund N500million taken from that account.
In the circumstance, since the nation now knows that the Marine Float Account and other similar accounts were ‘SPV’ accounts, it follows that all payments made into that account were monies stolen from the public coffers. Therefore, we call on all security agencies to recover all monies withdrawn from that account by anyone for that matter.
ATIKU MUST APOLOGISE AND RENOUNCE HIS AMBITION
In the light of these very grave revelations, we call on Atiku Abubakar to IMMEDIATELY tender an unreserved apology to the Nigerian people and step down from the Presidential race forthwith, whilst handing himself over to the law enforcement agencies.
What is now clear to the Nigerian people is that between 1999 and 2007:
(a) President Obasanjo and Atiku ran a criminal enterprise and an empire of fraud in Abuja at the same time Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was toiling very hard, dutifully and meticulously laying the foundation to rebuild Lagos State.
(b) That following these revelations, it becomes clear that Atiku Abubakar has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO CAMPAIGN ON AGAIN AS THE PERIOD OF 1999 – 2007 that he always relies on can now be described by Nigerians as the “SPV years” when they ran Nigeria aground.
(c) That whilst President Obasanjo and Atiku deprived the good people of Lagos State their Local Government monthly allocations even after the Supreme Court ordered the release of the funds, they were busy stealing the nation’s resources by stealth in Abuja.
(d) That the real, dark reason for the seemingly irreconcilable quarrel between President Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar is disagreement over monies they both stole in the ‘SPV’ accounts at that time.
PROTECTION FOR THE WHISTLE-BLOWER
When President Muhammadu Buhari came to office, one significant policy he adopted was that of whistleblowing. You are all witnesses to the fact that the policy has recorded tremendous success with the recovery of millions of dollars from various hidden sources. One was the famous Ikoyi apartment heist. These recoveries have been used by the Buhari administration to fund our budgets and build the infrastructure we see springing up everywhere in the country today. We also recall that recently, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing to the policy and legal protection for the whistle-blower
It is in the light of the above, we call on all well-meaning Nigerians and the law-enforcement agencies to protect Mr. Michael Achimugu, who has blown this whistle on Atiku Abubakar. No harm must befall him or members of his family. We suspect that some goons of Atiku Abubakar are planning to eliminate him and harm members of his family. We shall hold Atiku Abubakar responsible if anything befalls this patriotic Nigerian or members of his family. We also encourage him to reveal to Nigerians those “earth-shaking” revelations he is withholding for the sake of this nation and the future of our children.
So far, we are disillusioned, but not surprised at the conspiratorial silence of a section of the media over this grave issue of national importance. Even after seeing court processes in form of a sworn affidavit, we observe an embarrassing silence yet from a section of the media. We have consistently made our case against the unethical and partisan antics of some media houses and this development vindicates us.
When it was the case of the spurious and dead case of drug dealing leveled against our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, these media platforms threw caution to the winds and zealously feasted on it. Of course, we gallantly came out and vigorously disproved all the tissue of lies against our candidate. But, now, the Press has gone strangely quiet. Well, whether they keep quiet or not, it is our firm belief that the judiciary is the last hope for the hopeless. In this case, the judiciary will not be quiet as we shall clearly take steps in the next few days to initiate a judicial process seeking the OUTRIGHT DISQUALIFICATION OF ATIKU ABUBAKAR from the race based on these facts. He is clearly ethically challenged, morally damaged for the highest office of the land.
We call on the Fourth Estate of the realm to resist the temptation of partisan recruitment this moment, rise to a patriotic call this defining hour and save the nation from this candidate that serially abused his office as Vice-President of Nigeria.
Mr. Dele Alake
Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs
Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN
Director, Public Affairs and Chief Spokesperson
Mr. Bayo Onanuga
Director, Media and Publicity
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode
Director, Special Media Projects/New Media
Alhaji Idris Mohammed
Director, Strategic Communications