A Magistrate’s Court in Abuja, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, to investigate Senator Andy Uba and a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chibuike Achigbu, over their alleged involvement in the $15m bribe offered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, by former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori.
The bribe was offered by the former governor to ward off a money-laundering investigation. The Chief Magistrate, Mr. G.O. Okagu, issued the order following a “direct criminal complaint” made by a Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo. Keyamo’s complaint was argued by one Ugochukwu Ezekiel.
The order gave the IG a September 26 deadline to report back to the court with his findings to ascertain the complicity or otherwise of Uba and Achigbu.
Keyamo in his deposition averred that “the society is crying for justice in this matter and only an intervention by the court can answer the cry.” He also averred that it will be in the best interest of justice to bring the accused persons to court to answer this complain and that this court has the power to direct that the accused persons be brought to answer.
The claimant had alleged that as an oil magnate and member of the ruling PDP, he had donated $15m towards the election of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2007.
Achigbu explained that he sought advice from legal experts on whether he could raise money to support the PDP and its candidates throughout the country to ensure a clean sweep for the party. He added that though he set a target of N3bn for himself and friends, but was able to raise more than N2bn by April 2007.
In order to expend the fund legitimately, Achigbu said he approached Uba, now a senator, and agencies of government to ensure that he raised the funds legitimately and in good faith. Uba, he alleged, advised him to deliver the fund to the EFCC, being the agency of the Federal Government empowered to certify such.
In an affidavit he filed in support of the application, he said: “Andy Uba was a Special Assistant in the Presidency who offered to take custody of the fund with a view to inviting EFCC to carry out the audit and certification before being donated to the PDP.”
He stated that upon delivering the money, he heard rumours about an attempt by Ibori to bribe the chairman of the EFCC, insisting that he had nothing to do with Ibori. According to Achigbu, “It was not until several months after Uba’s election was voided at the Supreme Court that he succeeded in making contact with him.
He claimed that “Uba, in a telephone conversation he had with him sometimes in the early part of the year 2008, confirmed that, as agreed, he did invite the EFCC to take custody of the purported unclaimed fund and revert on their investigations about its suitability for the purpose that the fund was intended.”
Achigbu said that he, however, suspected that Uba had diverted the money to fund his electioneering expenses when he was campaigning for governor of Anambra State.
He deposed further that “I took the view that God had sufficiently avenged Uba’s betrayal when his election funded with the money was voided by the Supreme Court less than a month into his tenure in June 2007.”
Achegbu explained that on August 27, 2012, he received a call from Uba, informing him about the latest development concerning the $15m and that the money was the same money he collected from him.
He said that Uba specifically confirmed to him that it was Ibrahim Lamorde, the then EFCC Director of Operations, that was specifically instructed to receive the money from him on April 25, 2007.