Former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of bullying her to return N650 million to the Federal Government’s coffers on allegation of money laundering.
She therefore prayed Justice Chukeujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos to caution the Commission and direct it to return the seized amount to her.
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Akinjide, alongside two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ayo Adeseun and Olanrewaju Otiti, for alleged fraud involving the said N650 million.
According to the EFCC, the former Minister allegedly collected N650 million from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.
However, in a fresh application by her lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), Akinjide claimed that she was coerced by the EFCC to return the N650 million.
In praying the court to quash the charges against her for being an abuse of court processes, Akinjide maintained that no prima facie case of fraud has been brought against her in the proof of evidence filed by EFCC before the court.
She said contrary to the Commission’s claims she collected N650 million from Diezani, the money was actually from the fundraiser organised by the PDP to fund the re-election campaigns of the then President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
Akinjide stated that the EFCC cannot claim ignorant of the fact that such fundraising was legal and normal under the Electoral Act 2010; and that even the All Progressives Congress (APC) also conducted a similar fundraiser and realised N50 billion, used to fund the electioneering campaign of its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, and his running mate, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
She said regrettably while PDP members were being “harassed, charged or prosecuted” over the money realised from its fundraiser, “none of the members or candidates of the APC was charged from the conclusion of the 2015 general elections till date on the basis of the N50bn fundraising.”
Akinjide said the N650 million was handled in her capacity as Coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo presidential election campaign in Oyo State, adding that “the money was distributed to various groups and sub-coordinators of the PDP in Oyo State as directed by the party in order that the funds may be further distributed to party agents and other workers in the campaign organisation.”
“No single individual received sums in excess of N5m from this political chest,” she said.
The ex-Minister however, lamented that “soon after the election and the inauguration of a new administration controlled by the APC at the federal level, the respondent (EFCC) was unleashed on leaders of the PDP under the guise of the now well-known ‘fight against corruption’, which many Nigerians have come to perceive as a persecution of PDP leaders by the APC-controlled administration of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
Akinjide urged the court to acquit and discharge her of the alleged fraud charges filed against her by the Commission.
With Agency reports