Chief Bode George – “Yuguda gave me $30,000 to share among ourselves. Each person received $1,500 including myself.
Chief Bode George,the former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, said he received $30,000 (N5.9m) and not N100m from a former minister of state for finance, Bashir Yuguda. Chief Bode George was reacting to a report on Sunday that Yuguda, in a statement made to the EFCC, said he gave a total of N600m cash to six chairmen of the Contact and Mobilisation Committee of the PDP for the 2015 general elections.
Those who allegedly benefitted included Chief Bode George (South-West); Amb. Yerima Abdullahi (North-East); Peter Odili (South-South); Attahiru Bafarawa (North-West); Jim Nwobodo (South -East); and Ahmadu Ali (North-Central). While Bafarawa a former governor of Sokoto State, has since confessed to receiving N100m, George, who is currently in the United Kingdom, told one of our correspondents during a telephone interview on Sunday that only $30,000 cash was given to him as the head of the South-West committee.
He said the committee was not a mobilisation committee but an elders’ consultative committee set up to reconcile aggrieved party members ahead of the elections. The PDP chieftain explained that the SouthWest committee had three PDP elders from each of the six states in the South-West.
It was learnt that the three delegates that represented Lagos were George, a former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe; and a former Minister of Communications, Maj. Gen Tajudeen Olanrewaju (retd.). Other members of the committee were former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Senator Femi Kila (Ekiti); and a former National Vice Chairman, PDP South-West, Senator Yinka Omilani (Osun).
George added, “Yuguda gave me $30,000 to share among ourselves. Each person received $1,500 including myself. “We held a series of meetings in Lagos and the money was used to settle hotel bills, transport and sittings. So, I don’t know what Yuguda is talking about. If the money that was given to us was stolen, how was I supposed to know?”
In a separate statement signed by his spokesman, Mr. Uthman Shodipo, George said the allegations levelled against him were part of a plot to run him down.
He added, “The salient fact is that very early this year, long before the election period, the party set up a Contact and Mobilisation Committee for each zone to reconcile various factions and ensure a firm unity of purpose within the zones before the elections. I was elected as the Chairman of the South-West zone. “Sometime in the middle of these deliberations, Yuguda came to me and said the party was reimbursing the 18 elders of the committee for their transport, accommodation and feeding allowances for the work that was done. “The committee later submitted the report of its deliberations to the party and then wound up. For all these efforts, Yuguda gave the committee only $30,000. That was less than N6m at that time. Yuguda can never claim that he gave the committee N100m.”
Also speaking with one of our correspondents on Sunday, Ogunlewe said Yuguda was grasping at straws. The former minister said the committee was set up to reconcile aggrieved parties after the primaries and wondered why N100m would be given to such a committee.
“The committee was setup to reconcile aggrieved parties and we were given small allowances. So, I don’t understand how N100m came into the picture. “Yuguda is just singing. Let him prove what he has said in court,” Ogunlewe added.
Yuguda, who made the allegations in a Statement of Witness/Caution, which he wrote on oath, said he paid N200m to the erstwhile PDP governorship candidate in Kebbi State, Bello Yaki.
The statement is part of the proof of evidence against the former minister, whose trial is scheduled to commence this week at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory. Yuguda also said he instructed Jabbama Limited to transfer N300m to BAM Properties, whose account detail was given to him by a former National Chairman of the PDP, Bello Haliru. Apart from receiving some money from Dasuki’s office, Yuguda was also said to have collected N1.5bn from Stallion Group for the 2015 general elections.
In a related development, the Office of the National Security Adviser has called on all companies, who had contracts with or rendered services to the ONSA to appear before the Contract Verification Committee sitting in its premises between December 15 and December 23. The ONSA asked the contractors to appear through accredited representatives of at least the status of a director.
It asked the contractors to come with the following documents, “Certificate of Incorporation, Particulars of Directors, Tax clearance certificate from 2011 till date, letter of award of contract, invoice for supplies or services, evidence of payments so far or outstanding balance, personal income tax clearance certificates of directors and any other documents considered relevant to the contract.”