19 May 2021
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THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced investigations into an alleged N10bn fraud levelled against the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party.
A document obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday indicated that the anti-graft agency had written a letter inviting the party’s National Auditor, National Organising Secretary and Director of Finance to meet with its Head of Operations at the EFCC National Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja, beginning from Wednesday (today).
The letter of invitation with reference number: CR:3000/EFCC/ABJ/EG2/12 / Vol 2/146, dated May 17, 2021, was addressed to the National Chairman, PDP Secretariat.
Titled, ‘Investigation activities, letter of invitation for information,” the letter reads, ‘The commission is investigating an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of funds and fraud in which the need to obtain certain clarifications from your party has become imperative.
“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly release the under-listed officers of your party to attend an interview with the undersigned on the below scheduled dates at the Economic Governance Section 2, EFCC Headquarters 2nd floor, flat 301 and 302 Institution and Research District, Jabi, Abuja by 1000 hours.”
The commission said the national auditor should come on Wednesday , the national organising secretary on Thursday and the director of finance, on Friday.
“The officers should come along with relevant documents on the sale of forms into the party’s elective positions from January 2017 to date,” the statement signed by Michael Wetkas, Head of Operations, added.
The investigation was triggered by a petition filed by a member of the party, Mr Kazeem Afegbua, who alleged that money generated from the sale of forms and other sources totalling N10bn was unaccounted for.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, and other party leaders, however, dismissed the claim as untrue.
The PUNCH gathered that Afegbua’s petition was triggered by the contents of a leaked memo of an auditor’s query on financial transactions involving the PDP leadership.
The National Auditor of the party, Adamu Mustapha, had alleged that his office was oblivious about the party’s financial transactions since 2017.
In the memo, Mustapha had said, “The purpose of this alarm is to bring to the notice of this NWC the inability of the audit department to perform its functions as enshrined in the constitution and the extant laws, to illustrate as example, the audit department was incapacitated by lack of access to the necessary inputs that will enable it to discharge its duties.
“For whatever reasons, there is no access to all financial transactions (cash inflows and outflows) documents of the party like cashbooks, receipts. vouchers, registers cheques and bank statements all of which are necessary input or pre-audit for due process, internal control and reconciliation.”
He later addressed the media at the instance of the party leadership, where he denied accusing the national chairman of financial malfeasance.
Ologbodiyan explained that the audit query had been dealt with and issues raised therein adequately addressed by the parties NWC and the NEC.