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Ogbeh, PDP Exco Members Dragged to EFCC 01.03.2005

The feud between President Olusegun Obasanjo and the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Audu Ogbeh, has taken a new dimension with some members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party dragging Ogbeh and members of the National Working Committee (NWC) before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in what may bring the commission to an issue that is wholly political. According to a petition to the EFCC titled 'Please, Save Our Party From The NWC's Plunder' , Ogbeh and members of the NWC were accused of financial recklessness, mismanagement and flagrant abuse of the party's constitution. In the petititon dated December 20, 2004 the petitioners said "Chief Ogbeh at a meeting with the Ex-officios on 15/11/03 informed us that the party has in safekeeping the sum of N1.2 billion left over from the income from nomination fees and donation and the amount was to be used to build a five star hotel in PDP's name. However on 16/12 /04 during NEC meeting he informed the meeting that the party has N400 million in term deposit. "We would like Chief Ogbeh to let us know which party bank account has N400 millon deposit and how the difference of N800 million deposit was expended." Also, the petition against Ogbeh and NWC urged EFCC to investigate how N30 million was transfered to the PDP southwest Febuary 27, 2004 and another N39 million, claiming that the letter - for the withdrawal of the amount from Zenith Bank, Maitama, Abuja was not authorised in line with the constitution of the party. They have already written to the manager of the bank asking for the details of the transaction. In another instance, they accused the NWC of withdrawing N10 million from Hallmark Bank querying why there was no signatue of the chairman as the amount was withdrawn by the signatures of the National Secretary and National Treasurer. The petitioners alleged that payment vouchers were not being audited by the Audit Department at all and that only Ogbeh signed the vouchers thereby undermining the duties of the Internal Audit Department of the party. In another instance, Ogbeh was accused of signing payment voucher no 1798 dated 10.03.04 and the voucher contained N104,500,000, alleging that it was not counter signed and no payee signed for the collection of the cheque no 0000/002 of Hallmark Bank Plc.

The payment voucher said that the amount was for the payment of Housing Allowance to National Officers. Also, they called on Ogbeh and the NWC to account for the Hallmark Cheque No 00000820 and the amount therein. Other charges against Ogbeh and the NWC was that the party spent N178,220,000 as hire charges in 2003, asking that the amount be explained. The petitioners to the EFCC accused Ogbeh and the NWC of paying ghost workers and inflating the wages vouchers. For instance, they asked why PDP will pay salaries to 238 staff on a monthly bill of N5 million. Other charges against Ogbeh and the NWC was that they paid subventions to states and zones to the tune of N279.9 million whereas only N122 million was disbursed in the following other of N268.8 million to the states and N15.1million whereas the corrected amount disbursed was N109 million and N13 million. In this regard, they want the NWC to explain the difference of N157.9 million. Other accusastions are as follows: •Ogbeh collected N35,510226 from the Bank of the North in Payment Voucher No 1694 dated 19/9 03. This is suspect. •Ogbeh collected N13,760000 via Equity Bank via Cheque No 00826138. The amount was only described as Sallah gift. They want to know the source of the gift. • Another N5m was collected via Hallmark Bank Cheque No 0000806. Wants to know what it is meant for. • Ogbeh signed N33.192 million. Only Ogbeh signed for it via Hallmark Bank, it has no cheque number • Another N20 million via PV no 1727 dated 11/3 03 signed and collected by Ogbeh through cheque no 0000006 Zenith Bank. • Ogbeh and Treasurer collected N11.3 million on 5/5 04 as NWC sitting allowance. • N27 million through PV no 0141 dated 28/11/02, transfered to Equity Bank as Term Deposit doubts if the money get to the bank as there was no cheque for the transfers • accused Ogbeh and NWC of demanding and collecting N30 million as expenses, instead of N21,856,805. The accused the NWC to account for the difference. • Accuse NWC of borrowing N374,363,860 from Habib Bank without NEC approval • Withdrawals without Ogbeh authorisation : N4.5, N1m N5m all from Equitorial Bank. Also they accused NWC of influencing the INEC audit account through the offer of N700,000. Sixteen NEC members of the party were listed as petitioners in the petition, which was erroneously addressed to the Director-General instead of Chairman of the EFCC. However, of the 16 listed in the petition six of the NEC members did not append their signatures. They include Hon. Yunusa Adekunle Yusuf, Mr. John Igboke, Chief Ropo Adesanya, Alhaji Ibrahim Gubio and Alhaji Muhammed Arzika. One of the signatories, Mr. Somy Abang, had his signature written in biro on the photo copy of the petition made available to THISDAY while Alh. Yusuf A. Aiyitogo had his name duplicated. Those who signed the petition include Alhaji Alhassan Galadima, Dr. C.N Obioha, Afolabi Elijah, Yunusa Adekunle Yuufu, Chief Olusola Okunola, Ahmed Mohammed Gusau (MFR), Dr. Tayo Dairo, Alh. Rahhed Salman, John Igboke, Ropo Adesanya, Usman Alto Roni and Alh. Yusuf Aiyitogo. When contacted last night, Director of Communications of EFCC, Ujudud Sheriff said he could not confirm if the crimes commission had received such petition. He said that it was not possible for him to reach those who could confirm since he was not in Abuja. Moreover, he said that Chairman of the EFCC, Alh. Nuhu Ribadu, who would normally be privy to a petitition of this nature was out of town. But PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Venatius Ikem said he could not comment on a document he has not seen.