I was recently mentioned in a tweet by a follower, @naigerian, who was asking about alleged mismanagement of PTDF funds. For the benefit of @naigerian and other citizens of Nigeria, I will explain how the PTDF was designed to work, and what happened during my time in office.
In order to understand the issue of the PTDF, I should point out that the laws establishing PTDF was designed such that the fund itself could not be directly spent. The PTDF as a fund could only be drawn from profits accruing to that fund. I did approve the placement of $145 million dollars in commercial banks in order to accrue the required interest, which could then be used for PTDF projects. The approval of these funds followed due process.
When I was accused of PTDF mismanagement (i.e putting it in private banks to accrue interest), the funds & accrued interests were returned to CBN intact. Not a penny was lost from that money. However, a report was prepared by the EFCC, under pressure from the president, and presented to the FEC, without any response/evidence from myself or witnesses.
It is pertinent to note that this report was also put together, following my outcry over N20b requested from the PTDF by the president, which I discovered was being used to fund the third term push.
On November 28, 2008, Justice Inumidun Akande of the Lagos High Court established that the EFCC was wrong, and quashed the EFCC report, showing that I did no wrong, as accused by the EFCC, which was doing the bidding of a president who was bent on smearing my name, despite having no evidence.
The following news reports is hereby quoted:
“Nov. 28, 2006: Court Quashes EFCC Report on PTDF: Justice Inumidun Akande, Lagos High Court declared: “… “There is no evidence before the court to establish that the applicant (former Vice President Atiku Abubakar) was allowed to call witnesses to testify on his behalf to defend the allegation… instead, the 2nd Respondent prepared a report in which he indicted the applicant and others and submitted it to the President (Obasanjo) as if he was the High Court before which the offenders will be prosecuted, establishes lack of fairness.”
In her judgment, on Nov. 28, 2006, Justice Inumidun Akande of Lagos High Court nullified both the EFCC report and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry report, which indicted former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.”
The Senate also disagreed with the EFCC report, on may counts. One that stuck out was that having accused me of placing funds in private banks, there was no investigation of the president’s placement of funds in UBA, as well as authorisation of loans to UBA from PTDF. The president later borrowed N200m from UBA to purchase Transcorp shares, which was also a conflict of interest.
My question has always been: why would a fund that needs to accrue interest be lodged in the CBN? Government should be run like a business. PTDF funds were better kept in private banks, where they could accrue interest.
The PTDF accusation was brought against me because I spoke out against diversion of same funds for the third term agenda, and it is a shame the EFCC was used to prosecute that vendetta. I believe EFCC needs to be made truly independent – to fight corruption, without interference from the executive, or anyone.
I have since forgiven the people who accused me, including my own friends who have since come to ask for forgiveness. But things must change. We are witnesses today of a respected CBN governor being accused of corruption by government, for blowing the whistle on the theft of $20b. In 5 years, a new generation of young people will believe Mallam Sanusi was a theif, due to the sheer amount of effort by the government to sully his name.
So I must ask again: is our country ever going to prosper with these gross abuses of power by her presidents?