The pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Nuhu Ribadu, has said the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the bribery scandal of a former United States congressman, William Jefferson, was an impostor who was peddling influence with the name of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, had stoked controversy on Monday when he alleged that the wife of the president was mentioned as having wired the sum of $170,000 to the convicted congressman.
While the Presidency dismissed the allegation as “shameless and blatant distortion of facts”, the immediate past chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde, confirmed that the wife of the president was not the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the bribery scandal.
In a follow-up statement on Wednesday, Gov. Fayose stood his grounds, daring Mrs. Buhari to travel to the U.S to prove her innocence.
But Mr. Ribadu, who was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 governorship elections in Adamawa State, narrated how the EFCC during his tenure, in conjunction with U.S. authorities, almost arrested the impostor.
“She is a different person and has lived in the U.S. for years. She is hardly in Nigeria. The EFCC was working with U.S. authorities on the investigations. One of my plans was to arrest her before I left the commission. Our suspicion then was that she was using the Buhari name for influence.
“The EFCC laid ambush to see if she would come into the country so she could be arrested. I didn’t know what happened to the plan to arrest her after I left”, he said.
The former anti-corruption czar, however, said if Nigerian authorities were still interested in the case, it was easy to establish her real identity.
According to Ribadu, identifying the impostor should not be a problem for investigators because she recently renewed her passport at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, which should still have a file on her.