There are indications that security agencies are probing how the administration of former President , Goodluck Jonathan allegedly withdrew $6.9million (N1.460b) from a secret account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to buy three 12 meter (40 feet) mobile stages for use at public events, The Nation reports.
The cash is reported to be part of the unremitted funds into the Federation Account by the NNPC.
The purchase, according to investigation, did not pass through due process and was known only to Dr. Jonathan, his then Chief Security Officer, Mr. O.J. Obuah and former Petroleum Minister , Diezani Alison-Madueke, adding that the CSO raised a memo to his boss for the purchase and the release of the money to that effect.
Jonathan was said to have given his approval and authorized the former minister to disburse the fund.
A source, familiar with the purchase, disclosed to the newspaper that the deal was struck on October 17, 2011 through a curious memo from Obuah, adding that preliminary investigation suggested that there was no record of purchase of the said stages.
The report said the $6.9million was paid into a company?s account after NNPC directed that the money be taken from one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK with sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number 021000089. The company, was identified as J. Marine Logistics Limited, Abuja, allegedly registered by Obuah.
The source said: ?Between himself, his Chief Security Officer and the former Petroleum Minister, former President Goodluck Jonathan spent in just one shot deal a whopping $6.9 million dollars to buy three 40-feet mobile stages for use at public speaking events.?
According to the report, investigators and security agencies believe this is just one of the tons of alleged corrupt practices frequently engaged in and condoned under the last president.
?Besides the fact that the sum for the stages was incredibly inflated, according to mobile stage industry experts, government investigators say there is no evidence yet that any stage was purchased at all,? one source said, citing several documents.
One of the documents says: ?At the centre of the fraudulent financial ring was the former Chief Security Officer (CSO) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. O.J. Obuah who initiated a memo to the former president on October 17, 2011 asking for the purchase of three mobile stages.
?He said in that memo to the former president that this is regarding ?my earlier discussion with Your Excellency on the security implication of your public appearances and your subsequent directive on the need to procure a secured presidential platform.?
?And on the same day without any financial advice or purchase order reviews, the former president minuted his approval of the request to buy the three stages to the then Minister for Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.
?In his minute, the president said ?we have discussed this, please deal.?
?Right after that okay from the president, on the same October 17, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Administrative Matters, Matt Aikhionbere did another letter on the strength of the president?s approval requesting the Petroleum Minister to take action on the request to purchase the stages for $6.9m.
?By the next month, an NNPC payment voucher number 3840336 was already in place revealing that the money was released. NNPC directed that the money be taken from one of its accounts in New York CITIBANK with sort code CITIUS 33, and Routing number 021000089.
?It was first routed from the US bank to an NNPC account in Zenith Bank account number 5000026593, Maitama branch in Abuja, from where the money was sent to a private account. The sum of $6.9m was then credited to a Sterling Bank account of one J. Marine Logistics Limited, Abuja, a company investigators say was registered by Obuah.?
The report also quoted the source as saying: ?The $6.9 miilion in question was promptly paid on November 29, 2011 into a private account belonging to the former CSO.
?The former president approved the procurement of the mobile platforms without due process and bye-passing the Procurement Act neither was there an appropriation in the 2011 budget for such facility.