Wednesday 15 July 2015

Jonathan panics, runs to Abuja as Buhari probes $2.1b oil cash

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has dashed into Abuja to meet some powerful men to seek protection from the ongoing secret investigation being carried out by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Jonathan is disturbed by the determination of President Buhari to expose how $2.1bn was illegally withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Jonathan has already zoomed with his protest to General Abubakar Abdulsalami.

The general is leader of the National Peace Committee for 2015 General Elections. The crux is that:

•the Buhari administration is trying to blackmail him and his erstwhile cabinet members;

•he is not pleased with the corruption tar being put on his administration; and that

•he is worried by the likely probe of the whereabouts of the $4billion taxes and dividends paid by the Nigerian Liquified Natural gas Ltd between 2009 and 2014.

Sources who pleaded anonymity “because of the sensitivity of the matter” told The Nation that Jonathan and some of his ministers are angry that Buhari ought to know that such taxes and dividends are remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Another matter that is seriously troubling Jonathan and his ministers, according to the sources, is how the NNPC under his watch allegedly blew N3.8trillion in three years.

The Abdulsalami Committee is yet to have audience with Buhari on the allegations made by Jonathan.

Jonathan arrived in the country last weekend to “defend his administration”. He could not be reached for his reactions as at the time of posting.

It was, however, learnt that he had chosen to table before the Abdulsalami Committee some issues, including the controversial $2.1bn withdrawn from the ECA without recourse to the NEC.

The source said: “The former President returned into the country at the weekend but he is unhappy with the bashing of his administration.

“Jonathan believes that Buhari is blackmailing him and his ministers, contrary to the terms of the 2015 poll peace agreement which led to a smooth transition from the PDP to the APC.

“I think Jonathan approached the Abdulsalami Committee so that he will be left alone by Buhari who openly said he inherited an empty treasury from his predecessor.”

A former minister in the Jonathan administration, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ex-President is unhappy that the administration of Buhari has been stigmatising his administration instead of putting him into confidence on issues.

“For God’s sake, let them allow this man to earn his well-deserved retirement. If there is any observation by the new government, there are standard official procedures of addressing such.”

Buhari had on June 29, raised a four-man panel to check how NNPC spent N3.8 trillion in three years.

The four ‘wise men’ are Governors Oshiomhole, Udom Emmanuel, El-Rufai and Dankwambo.

While awaiting the submission of the committee’s report, Oshiomhole revealed that the immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, took $2.1billion from the ECA without approval.

Out of the $2.1b, only $1b was paid to oil marketers as subsidy and the rest $1b used for GEJ's election.