Misappropriated N10bn nomination fees: Fresh scandal rocks PDP as NWC members return multi-million naira ‘bribes’ to Ayu

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Arapaja, Orbih, Effah-Attoe claim ignorance of bribery

Uba Group

Ayu in deeper trouble as members demand accountability

BY TIMOTHY AGBOR

The fresh crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party over alleged misappropriation of over N10 billion realised by the party from nomination fees paid by aspirants, on Thursday, assumed a serious dimension as some members of the National Working Committee returned millions of naira they were secretly offered as bribes from the huge cash.

Some NWC members had raised concerns about the depletion of the cash from over N10billion to N1billion and had confronted the embattled National Chairman of the party, Iyorcha Ayu, to account for how the money was spent.

It was gathered that some NWC members had been paid between N28 millon and N36 million to gloss over the alleged disappearance of the huge cash in order not to cause any fresh crisis in the party.

NWC members who allegedly rejected the N28million offer had insisted on proper accountability.

It was reported that some of those pushing for accountability of the huge sum are loyalists of Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and that it was to increase the pressure on Ayu to resign.

PDP had fixed its presidential nomination form and expression of interest forms for N40 million, governorship N21 million, Senate N3.5 million, House of Representatives N2.5 million and House of Assembly N600, 000.

It was reported that the affected NWC members were also caught unawares that former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar allegedly made N1billion available to the party before the presidential primaries but the party chairman was yet to account for the money.

Following news report of the alleged misappropriation of the over N10 billion and the bribery, no fewer than four leading members of the NWC have returned their alleged bribes to escape possible backlash. The money returned to the party ‘s account totalled over N120 million.

While both the National Vice Chairman, South/South, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Hon Olasoji Adagunodo and the National Woman Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe returned the sum of N28,800,000 each to Ayu, the Deputy National Chairman, South, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, returned the sum of N36 millon which he tagged “Housing Allowance.”

They made the returns to the bank account of the party in four separate letters addressed to the party National Chairman, copies of which were obtained by The Point on Thursday.

Arapaja’s letter was dated September 29, 2022, and titled: “Return of Thirty-Six Million Naira (N36,000,000.00) Housing Allowance Paid Into My Account.”

“I observed a malicious story reported in the Nations Newspaper of 26th September, 2022; where it was alleged that members of the National Working Committee were offered humongous amount of money to silent us over an allegation of financial misappropriation to the tune of Fifteen Billion Naira (N15,000,000,000.00).

“This led me to browse through my various alerts, and I discovered a transfer of Thirty-Six Million Naira (N36,000,000.00) from the Party.

“I have my reservation about this money transferred into my account and for personal reasons wish to return it accordingly.

“Kindly confirm the receipt of UBA Electronic Transfer of the Thirty-Six Million Naira (N36,000,000.00) attached herewith,” the letter Arapaja wrote to Ayu and copied the National Treasurer reads.

“CBN"

The National Women’s Leader, Prof. Stella Effah-Attoe, said she was informed by the party that the sum of N28 million paid into her account was for her two years rent as an NWC member, saying that she decided to return it as the money was said to have been a bribe to bring her and other NWC members to Ayu’s side.

Effah-Attoe’s letter dated September 29 and entitled: “Refund of Funds Into The Peoples Democratic Party Bank Account, ” read, “If you may recall, the sum of Twenty Eight Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira (N28,800,000.00) Only was paid into my UBA Account Number 2053101024 on the 14 of September, 2022 When enquired from your Office, was told that the said sum is for Two (2) years House Rent for me, as a member of The National Working Committee

“Since after the lodgment of the money into my Bank Account, have been inundated with many phone calls from Party members, friends, family members and the general public, insinuating that the said money has been given as a Bribe to bring me and other NWC members on the side of The National Chairman following the crisis between him on one side and the Governor of Rivers State. HE Governor Nyesom Wike/Wike’s Group on the other side.

“In addition, some National Newspapers/Social Media Platforms have also carried stories accusing the NWC members of being placated with Bribe of N28,800,000.00 This development has made me very uncomfortable. Having found myself in such an embarrassing situation, am hereby refunding to the Bank Account of our Great Party at the PDP National Secretariat Globus Bank, Account number: 1000095003, the sum of Twenty Eight Million, Eight Hundred Thousand Naira (N28,800,000.00) Only, earlier paid into my Bank Account. At an appropriate time, when things normalize, whatever is due to me as my House Rent could be paid to me Party.”

In the same vein, Chief Dan Osi Orbih, National Vice Chairman, South/South, in his letter also dated September 29, 2022 and addressed to Ayu, said he decided to return the money after newspaper report of the alleged misappropriation of the nomination fees.

“My attention has been drawn to a damaging trending story reported in THE NATION Newspaper by Yusuf Alli on September 26, 2022 titled “Disquiet in PDP NWC over N10 billion nomination fees.” Amongst several other allegations, he alleged that members of the NWC were offered N28 million to gloss over scandalous financial misappropriation. To my shock and surprise, it has been confirmed to me by my bank that the sum of N28, 800,000. (Twenty eight million eight hundred thousand Naira) has been credited to my account by the party. hereby notify you of my decision to pay back the money to the party’s account,” it read.

Adagunodo also claimed the N28,800,00 he received had been scandalised and hence its return.