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PTDF: Obasanjo, Atiku benefited from MOFAS accounts – Fasawe

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2007/03/20 | Views: 1006 |

PTDF: Obasanjo, Atiku benefited from MOFAS accounts – Fasawe

Otunba Oyewole Fasawe has sensationally revealed that both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar were beneficiaries of the controversial MOFAS account, saying that the account was used since 1999 to "maintain" the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Otunba Oyewole Fasawe has sensationally revealed that both President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar were beneficiaries of the controversial MOFAS account, saying that the account was used since 1999 to "maintain" the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Similarly, he has also challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to publish details of the account so that Nigerians would know who the beneficiaries are.

Testifying before the Senate review committee on Tuesday, Fasawe, dressed in a grey suit on a round collar T-shirt, with matching black shoe, revealed that he expended so much resources and energy to bring PDP to power in 1999 and 2003, insisting that he was being persecuted now because of Atiku.

Going down memory lane on his ordeals in the hands of the EFCC, the Owo-born high chief said: "I have given my life to God. And so everything I will say here today will be the truth and nothing but the truth. Probably, I will survive it, probably I will not. God knows. I was first arrested in September 2005.

I was incarcerated by the EFCC for three months. I was told that I was being held then because I defrauded a bank. They asked me if I had anything to do with the PTDF, I said no! My office and home were raided seven times; they did not find any incriminating document there. The documents they found were the letters I wrote to those owing me and they are Congressman Jefferson and i-Gate Communication Company.

"Again in June 2006, I was arrested and put in police custody for another one month. It was after that I rushed to the court to stop the EFCC from arresting me incessantly. Since then the arrest has stopped.
"Both leaders (Obasanjo and Atiku) are my bosom friends. MOFAS account is my account. I’ve been operating it since 1992 and the bank started giving me loan facilities since 1994. There is no way I can be president. Even if you give me the office, I can’t do it. But I did a lot to assist the vehicle that brought us (the PDP) into office through that account.

"Everybody knows that it will cost me money, but I don’t know where the PTDF office is. I have never been there. I only saw the former Executive Secretary (Hamisu Abubakar) when I was in the EFCC net. We met there. He was the one who told me that he was arrested to see if there was going to be anything that can nail Atiku. And I asked myself, could that be the reason I am here (EFCC net) again?
"I challenge EFCC to publish the details of the account for Nigerians to see who the beneficiaries are. The account is such that the bank gives me money as at when due and they (banker) know where the money will go. Really my victimization is because of Atiku, nothing else."

On his relationship with Atiku, he said: "My relationship with him dates back to 25 years ago. In 1993, he bought a Lexus jeep for me. In 2003, when I was doing the burial of my mother, he bought me a 607. So we have known each other for a long time."

When asked by the committee chairman, Senator Umar Tsauri, why over a billion would be advanced to him as loans within a span of four days, Fasawe said: "I dissociate myself completely from the loan (300million) advanced to Transvari Services. I don’t know anything about that loan. The company is promoted by my business associate. On the loans advanced to me, I can go to the bank to draw money 10 times in a day. I told Baba (President Obasanjo) about the (NDTV) business."

When a member of the committee, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, sought to know from Fasawe if the vice president was a shareholder in his company, Fasawe said "No."

But when he was further asked to say who the Adamu Abubakar on the board of directors of his company was, the young man the first committee believed is the vice president’s son, the question was overruled by the chairman of the committee.

Again Fasawe was asked how much was advanced to him as loan in 1994 when he first got the facility from the bank. He replied: "That is immaterial, but if I may ask the senator too, how much was the exchange rate then, compared to now?"
Senator Olasunkanmi simply said: "I should be asking you questions and not you asking me."
On the collateral, he simply said: "Whatever the collateral was, query my bankers and not me." And the committee chairman said: "I like the answers he (Fasawe) is giving."

When another member of the committee, Senator Azuta Mbata insisted that Fasawe should tell the world who the beneficiaries of the account were, since he knows them, the chairman of the committee again ruled the member out of order.

Senator Bello Maitama Yusuf, a member of the committee, also asked Fasawe if the licence of his would-be radio station was the only collateral he used to secure the series of loans he got, Fasawe replied: " No apology about that, if the bankers say the licence was enough collateral."

At this juncture, the chairman insisted that if there was any problem between the bank and Fasawe, it was not the business of the committee but rather that of the bank, adding that the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) was the only authority vested with powers to sanction erring banks.
Senator Yusuf disagreed, saying, "it should be our business because many Nigerians have suffered through liquidation of banks. It is therefore, in our interest to know the collateral he used to secure those loans."

On the identities of those who have been operating the MOFAS account, including those that have been putting money into the account, chairman of the committee, quoting copiously from Atiku’s submission, where he revealed how Obasanjo paid in N700 million into the MOFAS account, said the vice president’s position should suffice as response to the question posed to Fasawe.

Throwing more light on the said lodgment, Fasawe said: "We have been maintaining the party since 1999. I single-handedly did that from my purse. When my account is overdrawn, I run to the leadership of the party. It was during such occasion that the C-in-C (Obasanjo) paid in the N700 million."
Meanwhile, the committee has given indication that it may, after all, not turn in its report on Tuesday.

The chairman of the committee was however, quick to add that the report would be submitted during the week, adding, ‘our intention was really to submit it on Tuesday, but we will certainly submit it this week."
He also revealed that President Obasanjo, through a letter to the committee, had denied ever giving Atiku any verbal approval to place PTDF’s fund in any bank.
Atiku had, while testifying before the Senate ad hoc committee on PTDF, disclosed that he got verbal approval from Obasanjo to place the funds in banks.

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