By Maureen Okpe
Resource Center for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has called for a thorough investigation of the N90 billion embezzlement allegation against the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The Centre said it is imperative to conduct what it described as ‘robust, painstaking and thorough investigation’ on the allegation which has been making the rounds and heating up the polity.
In a petition signed by the Executive Director of the Organisation, Dr. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, stated that the assertion made by one Timi Frank, a former deputy publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress claimed that the VP asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to release public fund to him without following due process is questionable.
The letter which was addressed to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), requested that the widely circulated statement is a very daunting and heavy one and should be examined.
Dr Zikirullahi has made this request in view of the fact that President Buhari stated clearly during the 2019 election that public funds will not be used for political campaigns.
The statement reads in part:
“There has been aware of very disturbing allegations making the rounds, and authored by one Timi Frank,a former deputy publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the effect that his Excellency, The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN caused the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS to release to him public funds to the tune of N90billion without appropriation, and allegedly without following laid down procedures for handling public funds.
“For us, these allegations are very weighty and worrisome especially against the background that in the build up to the 2019 elections, President Mohammadu Buhari made it clear that public funds will not be approved for the purpose of political campaigns. Specially on January 19, 2019 in a statement through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Shehu Garba.
“On the basis of this express declaration from the President to the effect that public funds will not be deployed to fund the electioneering purpose of the ruling party, the Nigerian people, believed and trusted the President’s pledge.
“However, the claims by Timi Frank are implying that the ruling party did not adhere to the directives of the President on his proclaimed non-use of public funds to prosecute the election in favour of the ruling party.
“If these allegations are proven to be true, it will also mean that the campaign finance legislation governing the electoral process, as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended have been flagrantly violated.
“In the light of this development and their implications for the legitimacy of the government, and by extension the anti-corruption crusade, CHRICED calls for a robust, painstaking and thorough investigation of these claims with a view to verifying whether they are true or false.
“This step from your honourable commission is critical, and will help clear the air, and douse the suspicion, which the allegations have precipitated since they began circulating. If the Vice President is culpable as these allegations claim, then he should be made to face the consequences of such culpability.
“However, if the claimant making the allegations is found to be deceiving the public, appropriate steps should be taken to hold him to account in line with the rule of law”, the statement said.