As controversy continues to trail the release of looters ’ list by the Federal Government in the last one week , there are strong indications that government is compiling fresh names of people alleged to have looted the nation ’ s treasury .
Our correspondents learnt that
the fresh list might contain names of those who have yet to be arraigned
in courts for corruption .
The list may also include names of former governors , ministers and even bankers.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed , had in the
past said 55 persons stole N 1 . 34tn under the administration of former
President Goodluck Jonathan. Last week , he released 29 names , who he
said took money from the office of the former National Security Adviser ,
Col. Sabo Dasuki (retd . ).
Many of the names he released were ,
however, those already undergoing trial for alleged corruption while
the names of members of the former ruling party , the Peoples Democratic
Party , who had defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress were
conspicuously omitted from the list .
The two lists contained
names of those in the main opposition party , the PDP. The PDP had
subsequently criticised the government , accusing it of being biased and
diverting attention from its alleged incompetence.
But a source
close to the Presidency , who spoke on condition of anonymity , told one
of our correspondents in Abuja on Friday , that the government ,
through the Ministry of Information and Culture, would soon release
another list .
He said that the next batch would be more
comprehensive and would contain the names of those who either took money
from the office of the former NSA or directly from the Federal
Government before the 2015 elections.
He said the government was
aware of the controversy that surrounded the release of the first two
lists , adding that the names of some persons considered to be close to
the government could be in the third list .
The source said , “
Between you and me , I can authoritatively tell you that we are
compiling a fresh list . We won ’ t release it until we are satisfied
with it . We want to be thorough. People will be shocked when we release
the fresh names.
“Those who accused us of being biased will know
that we know what we are doing . The first list was a fraction . When
the second one came out , people were surprised . As for the next one,
people will be shocked . I won ’ t say more than that. ”
made to reach Mohammed on the issue were unsuccessful as calls made to
his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off .
Our list includes former governors , ministers, bankers –Sagay
, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against
Corruption , Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), in an interview with Saturday PUNCH
confirmed that the names of 55 persons that allegedly looted N 1 . 34tn
under Jonathan’ s regime were not in the lists of looters released by
the Federal Government .
He said he was very sure that the
Federal Government would publish the names of these alleged looters . He
said , “ Yes , I’ m sure. In fact , there is a paper containing all
their names, the charges against them , how far their cases have gone ,
some of them have never been charged .
“ That list includes former governors , ministers , bankers and so on. That is another list entirely. ”
however , refused to mention any of the names on the list , saying , “
No, I don’ t want to mention any names for now . There are people on
that list that the court declared that the EFCC (Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission) had no right to prosecute for technical reasons , not
for substantive reasons . ”
Secondus sues Lai Mohammed , demands N 1 . 5bn damages
Meanwhile , the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus , has dragged Mohammed to court for defamation of character.
Mohammed had on Friday, last week , identified Secondus as one of those who looted the nation ’ s treasury in the first list .
alleged that Secondus collected N 200 m from Dasuki , an allegation
that was denied by Secondus , who said he was embarrassed by the
minister ’ s claim .
He claimed through a letter from his lawyer,
Mr. Emeka Etiaba (SAN ), that he did not collect money and asked the
minister to retract his statement . He also asked for the payment of N 1
. 5 bn as damages and a public apology within 48 hours.
letter told Mohammed to note that if he failed to meet their demand
after 48 hours , “ We shall within 72 hours from today , proceed to a
court of competent jurisdiction to ventilate our client ’ s rights under
the law and shall further seek the protection of the court against you .
Having failed to meet the demand , Secondus on Friday , made
good his threat and filed a suit at the High Court , Port Harcourt,
Rivers State, asking the court to award the sum of N 1 . 5 bn to him as
damages for humiliation, castigation , vilification attack on his person
and integrity as a result of the publication.
According to a
statement by the PDP National Chairman ’ s Media Office , which was
signed by his spokesperson , Mr. Ike Abonyi , Secondus , in the suit
numbered : /PHC/ 1013/ 2018, is also claiming that Mohammed ’ s
publication is defamatory .
He, therefore, asked the court to direct Mohammed to retract the said publication and apologise to him in writing .
He asked the court to compel the minister to publish the retraction and apology in the
Nation , This Day, The Sun , The
and The PUNCH as well as on television stations like Nigerian
Television Authority and Channels TV , among others, where the “
defamatory ” report was published .
Secondus is also asking the
court for a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant from further
publishing defamatory materials against him .
Joined in the suit
are the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Attorney General of
the Federation and the Vintage Press Limited , publishers of The Nation
Also included in Mohammed ’ s first list were a
former PDP National Publicity Secretary , Olisah Metuh , who is on trial
for allegedly collecting N 1 . 4 bn from NSA office; Dr . Raymond
Dokpesi , who is on trial for taking N 2 . 1 bn from NSA office ; and a
former Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan , Dudafa Waripamo -
Owei , who is on trial over N 830 m kept in accounts of four different
In the second list , the minister said based on EFCC’ s
investigation , N126 bn , $1.5 bn and £ 5.5 m were allegedly embezzled
through Dasuki ’ s office . He said the amounts were not part of the
ongoing $ 2 . 1 bn military equipment scandal .