Confusion has reportedly hit the camp of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan over fresh discovery that N3.1 billion was allegedly shared by six chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is making frantic efforts to recover the cash from the beneficiaries, The Nation reports that some of them who ran to the ex-president to bail them out, received the shock of their lives as he (Jonathan) insisted that he will not lift a finger to help out any minister or public officer involved in the deal.
The anti-graft agency was said to have uncovered how N3.145b was paid into the accounts of six PDP chieftains and the Goodluck Support Group (GSG) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the build-up to the 2015 presidential elections.
The beneficiaries include a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (N840m); a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae (N100m); Mrs. (N36.9m); a former Imo State Governor, Chief Achike Udenwa and a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri (N350m) and Okey Ezenwa (N100m).
Some of the beneficiaries in their separate reactions expressed surprise, claiming when they enquired about the source of the money, they were assured that it was not from public funds.
This is just as a former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Nenadi Usman, had interacted with EFCC operatives in the last few weeks before the anti-graft agency blew open the fraud.
Mrs. Usman was the Finance Director of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization.
There was a sharp disagreement among the beneficiaries of the largesse on how to refund the cash as some members of the defunct Campaign Organization of the PDP were shocked that such a huge amount was collected under the table by a few directors.
They have therefore, asked the beneficiaries to bear the consequences of diversion of public funds.
Some members of the committee have also threatened to reveal dirty secrets on other public funds made available which were allegedly diverted by some stalwarts of the party.
But the EFCC is reportedly more concerned about how the N3.145 billion would be returned to government coffers.
While some claimed that they expended the money on Jonathan’s re-election campaign, others were making spirited efforts to source for the funds from some PDP chieftains and former members of the Federal Executive Council to cover up their track.
But there was no breakthrough for some of the beneficiaries last night, The Nation reports.
A top source said: “There is confusion in Jonathan’s camp. Many top members of the campaign committee were dazed that such huge cash was shared without any general information.
“Some of them have volunteered to testify against some of the beneficiaries if the EFCC digs deeper. They have been threatening to expose other dirty deals.
“Also, ex-President Jonathan has stayed away from the matter. One of the beneficiaries went to the ex-President for a bailout but the former leader said he will ‘not assist anybody but they should go and return whatever was given to them’.
“The beneficiary was said to have diverted N500million out of the N2billion, which he was to remit to the committee. He only gave out N1.5billion.
“The case of some public officers involved in the deal was worse because the former President has asked everyone to bear his or her own cross.
“As it is now, those given the cash will have to look for ways to refund it”.
A member of the Campaign Committee said: “We are not united on this N3.145billion. Some of us were disappointed that they got money without telling us. Let them go and face the music”.
Mrs. Usman is believed to have made a statement pending the time a comprehensive investigation will begin.
“The EFCC will interact with some of the beneficiaries soon. But the ultimate goal of the anti-graft commission is to recover the funds”, a source said.