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Corruption: ‘Billions Of Dollars Traced To Some People Under Buhari’s Administration, Tinubu Takes Step’




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The ascendancy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Nigeria’s highest office came with revelations that might have given the new President pause, had he been privy to the full extent of financial misappropriations under his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Recent disclosures to Saturday Vanguard from a presidency source have shed light on the enormous task facing the Tinubu administration in recovering billions of dollars reportedly siphoned off by key figures during the Buhari years.

On May 29, 2023, amidst the controversial decision to remove the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), President Tinubu’s courage was on full display.

Yet, beyond the public confidence lies a significant concern over the recovery of Nigeria’s commonwealth, purportedly plundered by a select group of “fat cats” under Buhari’s rule.

The scale of the alleged theft has become a central issue for Tinubu, tasked with not only reclaiming the stolen funds but also deciding the fate of those involved.

The investigations into the missing billions are ongoing, with details scarce due to the sensitive nature of the intelligence gathering and the potential implications for national security.

Saturday Vanguard was advised by a reliable source within Aso Rock to withhold names and specific details at this stage.

This caution underscores the complexities and potential risks associated with uncovering and addressing the alleged financial crimes.

The Special Investigator appointed by President Tinubu to lead the probe, Jim Obaze, reportedly faces challenges in his efforts, including “constant meddling and needless interference” from influential figures within the current administration.

These obstacles hint at the intricate power dynamics and vested interests that Obaze and his team must navigate to bring the culprits to justice.

But the source said, “Obaze is undeterred. And Tinubu is backing him all the way in the investigation.

“Whatever you think you have heard before now would peter into insignificance in the face of what is being discovered.”

According to the platform, it all first started as an unverified and unverifiable report that some powerful and influential operators close to President Buhari had become stupendously rich at the expense of Nigeria’s treasury.

Figures in the billions of dollars were said to have been traced to some of them.

The figures were too high to be believed, prompting one of the sources contacted to ask: “Is it that some of these people you are talking about were the ones to whom funds for the purchase of our crude oil were paid? Did they pay these people directly for crude oil sales or what?”

The newspaper revealed that after weeks of investigation, it can confirm that billions of dollars have been traced to certain individuals.

A source privy to what is going on said that “some of the figures you get to hear are troubling. What does anybody want to do with $6 billion? What does anybody want to do with $8 billion? These figures are something else.”

The platform noted that President Tinubu gave Obaze the Magna Charter to dig into any and everything that had to do with how funds from Nigeria’s treasury disappeared or found their way into private hands.

It was in the course of pursuing leads at the CBN and the presidency that some authorised and unauthorised transfers and outright cash withdrawals were discovered.

From over-invoicing to forgeries, unauthorised releases, influence-peddling, funds diversion, arms deals, forex deals and other financial malfeasances, funds were traced and tracked to some influential operators in the last administration.

It was disclosed that monies printed using the instrumentality of ways and means, amounting to over N30 Trillion during the Buhari administration, suffered a series of alleged mishaps, leading to diversion and unaccountability.

But for the need not to compromise the ongoing investigations and litigation, a Presidency source said, “Many disclosures would have been in the public domain. But that has not disturbed the work that is ongoing on how Nigeria’s money was stolen by a few people”.

Whereas some properties and businesses bought and paid for in these axes of financial malfeasances have already been tied to certain individuals in the outgone administration, Saturday Vanguard was made to understand that some of them have already been contacted and are making useful information available to the government.

The presidency source said: “What I can tell you is that some of these people are already talking. They are making revelations and the government is determined to get our money back. Except you see some of the raw documents and figures, you can never truly understand the magnitude of what happened to this country. And it was done by just a few people. The country’s funds were treated like personal allowances for enjoyment. Why do you think there is a problem with the naira and the exchange rate? It is because funds are in the hands of a few people who decided to buy up whatever is available in the market. That is why the government is starved of funds. But properties and businesses are already being seized”.

While some persons close to President Tinubu have confirmed the development, some neither confirmed nor denied the discoveries, the identities of the persons involved and the sums of money at play.

But those who know are both amazed and amused at the attitude of the president to the issue.

With the present administration assailed from different corners by multidimensional crises on the economic and security fronts, some observers are wondering why President Tinubu has not openly dealt with the issue so that Nigerians would have a full grasp of the type of economy he inherited before he was “possessed with courage” to remove subsidy without the benefit of proper planning.

Some say he doesn’t want to embarrass the outgone Buhari administration, while others say going public would present the party, APC, as one whose members were so reckless under Buhari. But Nigeria needs her money.

How Tinubu would deal with this headache remains to be seen but he recently said that what mattered more were the feelings of Nigerians, an indication that he may be reluctant to give in to all IMF proposals.

Vanguard revealed that the ongoing talks with some of the looters were yielding positive results.

However, part of what has made the issue very knotty is the complicity of some leaders of the ruling party who actively participated in the Buhari administration.

Part of Obaze’s challenge is the constant meddling of some very powerful individuals in his investigations, sometimes introducing blackmail.

It was reliably gathered that the card being played so that the issue would not go public is the role of some prominent members of the last administration who also played prominent roles in the campaigns for the party.

The source revealed that it gathered that some of the funds could be eventually tracked to quarters that would be too uncomfortable for the government of the day to expose.

is an Associate at Naija News. He is a news media enthusiast, he holds a degree in psychology and loves exploring and sharing about the enormous power that lies in the human mind. Email: [email protected], Instagram: adeniyidman