Nigeria’s former Vice President has broken his silence on accusations of being a corrupt person, a label that was created in the wake of a political tussle between him and former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
In an interview with some officials from the media team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), published in the latest edition of the anti-graft agency’s Zero Tolerance Magazine, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, denied being a corrupt person.
Recall that the former VP was labelled ‘corrupt’ in the wake of a political tussle between him and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and while responding to a question on how allegations of corruption became his albatross in the race for the presidency in 2006, he said:
“Well if Atiku is corrupt, he would have been found guilty of corruption by all the panels and probes and cases brought before courts.”
“I remember the only corruption indictment against me was a white paper which was cooked up by our own administration over night to including the very EFCC that I helped found and other cabinet ministers, which I challenged in court.
“The court rightly dismissed all those indictments as being mere political; and till today nobody has ever indicted me of corruption,” he said.
According to DailyTrust, also responding to allegations of corruption leveled against him by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai in his book, ‘Accidental Public Servant’, Atiku said el-Rufai did not give any evidence or prove where I was corrupt.
“This is the same el-Rufai and others who incorporated Transcorp during my time as Vice President and offered me shares and I declined.
“I wrote to them officially to say it was unethical of me to have accepted those offers, so, where is the corruption toga coming from,” he said.
Asked to explain the bribe scandal of N50 million, involving Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Jonathan Zwingina and others during el-Rufai ministerial confirmation screening, Atiku said: “No, that is absolutely not true.”
Atiku noted that el-Rufai ran to him and complained that he was denied confirmation by the Senate, adding that he called Mantu and others and confronted them.
He said: “It is also on record, because I controlled campaign funds, every Senator benefited from those funds; and el-Rufai now went and said those campaign funds were meant to be bribe.”
“Of course my boss, the president, investigated the story and found out that indeed every Senator got contributions from the campaign fund which I was managing. So where is the corruption in that?,” he concluded