THE office of the Nigerian President has described allegations of procurement fraud against the Chief of Staff to President Muhammdau Buhari, Abba Kyari, as “fiction”.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Presidency on Saturday night.
Abba Kyari had been accused by one Ado Waziri, who claimed to be his cousin, of defrauding him to the tune of over N29 million, but the presidency said it took offence at the allegations as the said complainant have never had any meeting with the COS.
“We wish to state with full authority that the allegation is false and the Chief of Staff did not have any private meetings with the person making those allegations,” the statement read in part.
We wish to state with full authority that the allegation is false and the Chief of Staff did not have any private meetings with the person making those allegations.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 8, 2018
It also stated that the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has denied a source who was quoted as allegedly being used as a front to defraud the complainant.
With a slew of crucial elections ahead, some politicians and their media agents appear to be working together to build pressure on the Buhari administration by wielding non-existent scandals against it.
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 8, 2018
Furthermore, the statement added that “the supply of 15 Hilux vehicles for the Presidency was an unlikely contract to have been awarded, as it did not exist anywhere in the 2016 and 2017 budgets. How then could COS Abba Kyari have asked for money to award a contract that did not exist anywhere at all?”
“With a slew of crucial elections ahead, some politicians and their media agents appear to be working together to build pressure on the Buhari administration by wielding non-existent scandals against it,” the statement read.
The full gist
The allegation of contract fraud was made against Abba Kyari by one Ado Waziri, who told a radio station in Abuja – Human Rights Radio 101.FM, – that the COS offered him a contract in December 2015. The contract was for the supply of 15 Toyota Hilux trucks to the state house, and the total contract sum was N300, 725,000. But after Waziri completed the contract and payment were made, the COS refused to pay him.
According to Waziri, who spoke on the radio station’s popular programme “Brekete family”, he sold all his property, including his family house, as well as borrowed money from friends and relatives, in order to be able to raise an initial sum of N29 million to enable him to execute the contract.
Waziri said that after he had supplied the vehicles, the payment was made into the account of one Sani Ado, an official of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), whom Kyari had introduced him to as one of his boys. It was Sani Ado that confirmed that the Money had been paid.
Waziri said Kyari had promised to give him 30 per cent of the entire contract sum of N300,725,000, but till date, he is yet to be paid the agreed sum, or even his initial capital of N29 million.
Magu, IGP Idris, Daura all complicit
Waziri also narrated how Abba Kyari used the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Nigerian Police to frustrate all his efforts at getting justice.
At the EFCC, Waziri said all the petitions he wrote amounted to nothing because once the officials see Abba Kyari’s name, they became jittery. One female senior officer at the EFCC, who was in charge of the commission’s cybersecurity unit, was removed from her post when she insisted on going ahead with the case, according to Waziri.
When the case eventually got to Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the EFCC, he said it was a family issue and asked Waziri to go to Abba Kyari and settle it since they were blood relatives.
At the Police Headquarters, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tijani Bulama, who had tried to investigate the case, was whisked away by a team of heavily armed DSS operatives and was detained for over a month at the DSS headquarters at the orders of the former Director General, Lawal Daura.
When Bulama was released by the DSS, he reported at the Force Headquarters only to be accused of plotting to kidnap Abba Kyari. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris ordered that he should be detained for another one month. After he was released, he was transferred to Delta State.
Ahmad Isah, the anchor of the radio programme “Brekete family”, said he had tried all he could to get the COS to respond to the allegations, to no effect. Even the people who had promised to mediate on the issue, according to Isah, did not get back to him.
Isah said he had written a petition to the office of the Vice President, asking for the matter to be investigated.
Below is a youtube video of the radio programme during which Waziri made the allegations:
Nigerians on Twitter expressed diverse opinions about the issue, with many calling for Kyari’s removal from office, and subsequent prosecution. Others noted that the Buhari administration, which prides itself as transparent and not corrupt, is fast gaining notoriety for several scandals.
Read some of the reactions below:
Education is overrated. Abba Kyari went to Cambridge and Harvard. Was a bank MD. But still does schoolboy fraud that involves bank transactions.
— . (@YusufTahirAdamu) September 5, 2018
On Friday, the EFCC said it had started investigations into the issue. Wilson Uwajuren, spokesman of the commission made this known via a text message he sent to ThePunch.
“The petition by Bako Waziri is being investigated by the commission. Any serious investigation takes time and it is presumptuous to conclude that the EFCC is non-committal simply because you did not receive an instant result. This is how investigations are done,” Uwajurent stated.
The commission did not say that it has concluded its investigations before the presidency released the statement exonerating Abba Kyari on Saturday night.