Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called Michael Achimugu’s allegations of corruption against him “baseless distraction and blackmail.”
Remember that Achimugu had urged Nigerians not to support Atiku for the benefit of their children and grandchildren after allegedly leaking a recording of a phone call between the PDP candidate and the former vice president in which Atiku admitted to using “special purpose vehicles (phony companies)” to divert public funds while serving as vice president under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 to 2007.
Achimugu presented Atiku’s explanation for the N100 million purportedly deposited into his account by former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye in the first in a set of videos he posted on his YouTube channel.
He clarified that he was shocked by the PDP leader’s statement that he had engaged in corrupt behavior inadvertently during a conversation they had.
He asserted that the Waziri told him that the previous governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, had contributed funds to the Marine Float account, which had been established and was run by Atiku or one of his allies.
Achimugu also revealed how one of Atiku’s friends appropriated a media company he set up with billions of naira.
Speaking on Atiku’s behalf during an Arise TV interview on Wednesday, the spokesperson for the PDP campaign council, Daniel Bwala said that his principal will not glorify Achimugu and his alleged sponsors by responding to the allegation.
“He (Atiku) will not respond to a baseless distraction ahead of the election. We are making our case to the Nigerian people for election. And in which case, if the people believe in that blackmail, they will express that at the poll,” Bwala told Arise TV.
Bwala continued; “I am not in a position at the moment to deny or confirm that it is the voice of Atiku Abubakar. But what I did and I’ve been doing is that I play the devil’s advocate.
“In the worst-case scenario, even if is the voice of Atiku Abubakar, the question I have asked is that in that communication is the law breached? In that communication, is there an infraction? And then you deal with the substance of the case.
“The only thing that they said in that press statement and wrote in their baseless letter is that in the communication (the leaked phone call), Atiku Abubakar said he floated an SPV (special purpose vehicles) and the SPVs were used in financing the political party’s activities. They tried to say, in all their social media, that SPV is a corrupt practice and so I said that is expression of ignorance.”
Defending Atiku, Bwala said “SPV is a concept in corporate governance of developing or creating a separate entity from an organization or entity by the business venture, where the SPV manages risk.
“SPV is not unlawful (and) not illegal except if the SPV commits illegal acts. So, if Atiku Abubakar said there was an SPV created, where we have consultants (that) when they get a job, they make remittance of support to the party…unless if you can show that crime has been committed, there is no evidence to suggest that in this given scenario that crime has been committed.
“And Atiku said in that very communication (leaked phone call) that this case has been reported to the EFCC, they have thoroughly investigated it and there is no evidence of a wrongdoing,” he said.