Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s name once again came up on Saturday during investigations into the seized N13bn ($43.4m, N23m and £27,000) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the National Intelligence Agency had claimed ownership of the money which was recovered on Thursday.
Punch Newspaper quoted a source familiar with the case as saying that documents belonging to the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation were recovered from the scene.
The organisation was responsible for the failed re-election campaign of Jonathan and his deputy, Namadi Sambo.
A former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, was the Director General of the organisation.
But a source familiar with the case, according to Punch Newspaper confirmed on condition of anonymity on Saturday that the huge sum was not the only item recovered from the seventh floor of the building.
The source said, “The huge sum of money was not the only thing recovered from that building, although that is what has remained in public domain since that EFCC operation.
“I can confirm to you that some documents and campaign materials belonging to the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organisation were also recovered alongside that money. This is being investigated.
“A Ghana-must-go bag full of those documents was taken from that building.”
When asked if anybody had been arrested or questioned as regards the documents, the source said he was not aware of any such development.
Meanwhile a civil rights groups, including the Nigerian Voters’ Assembly and Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, on Saturday urged the EFCC to open up on the ownership of the recovered money.
The groups stated this in separate interviews with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday in Abuja.
The Manager (Media and Events) of the CHRICED, Armsfree Ajanaku, said the two claimants to the money had a lot of explanations to make.
He said, “There is more to it than meets the eye for the Rivers State Government to be laying claims to the recovered cash. The two stories clearly do not add up.
“The two claimants have a lot of explanations to give. We find it extremely strange that an intelligence agency like the NIA would be lending the weight of its institution to the warehousing of millions of dollars in some private apartment. The NIA’s story is reminiscent of the botched $9m arms deal, which was clearly shady and specious.
“On the other hand, the story of the Rivers Government does not add up either. It is not enough to make wild claims; those claims must be backed up with evidence and a clear paper trail.”
Also, the Sociö-Economic Rights and Accountability Project said a court of law should decide the controversies surrounding the ownership of the $43m recovered by the EFCC.
The SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said this in an interview on Saturday, adding that in the interest of democracy, a decision that would favour both sides has to be taken.
He said, “The money was not found in Rivers State. But whatever resolution we arrive at must be in the interest of the two parties and endearing to the fight against corruption.”
On his part, the President of the Nigerian Voters Assembly, Mashod Erubami, said the claims by the NIA and the Rivers State Government were fraudulent.
He said, “The fight between NIA and Rivers is neither here nor there, how can NIA claim it has monies outside its official quarters till in its office? Such a claim is not only fraudulent but equally unexplainably dubious. Same goes to Rivers State governor’s claim.”
According to him, the Federal Government should ask the EFCC to be more serious in handling its investigations and be more transparent and accountable.
“The EFCC should complete its work circle before announcing the success. Issues must be investigated and fixed before announcement,” he stated.