formal speaker scoup N1b padded on Amnesty program
Details of a lawsuit filed by Chibudom Nwuche, a former
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, has
opened a window into the various ways Nigerian
lawmakers extort monies from ministries, departments and
agencies of the Nigerian government. Mr. Nwuche’s lawsuit
seeks to recoup a questionable payment from the office of
the Presidential Amnesty Program. The program was
established to help provide education, training and
employment for erstwhile militants in the Niger Delta.
The lawsuit reveals that, in 2012 and 2013, Mr. Nwuche’s
company, Foundation for Youth Development
(FYD), received a N4 billion contract from the Amnesty office
run by Kingsley Kuku. The purported purpose of the contract
was for the former deputy Speaker’s firm to provide
“offshore training” for Niger Delta youths in construction,
information technology and welding. The training was meant
to take place in Vietnam, Malaysia and at the World
Maritime University in Sweden.
However, shortly after Mr. Nwuche received the paperwork
for the contract, he told the Amnesty program that he
needed an additional N1 billion to bribe then Speaker of the
House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and other
leaders of the House. He argued that the extra funds were
needed to enable him to convince the legislators to pass the
hugely inflated budget of the Presidential Amnesty Program.
With backing from then First Lady Patience Jonathan, Mr.
Nwuche’s request was approved. The Federal Amnesty Office
was then asked to pay 50% of the contract sum to Mr.
However, once he received 50% of the contract sum as
“mobilization fee,” Mr. Nwuche absconded. He never
implemented any training of the ex-militants for which he
was paid billions of naira.
In July 2016, agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission arrested Mr. Nwuche for allegedly laundering
money for Mr. Kuku who is currently on the lam in the
United States. Unable to refund the funds he illegally took
from the Presidential Amnesty Office, Mr. Nwuche filed a
lawsuit (No. FCT/HC/CV/2609/16) on Tuesday, September 27,
2016 at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory,
Abuja claiming that he advanced a loan to the Presidential
Amnesty Office. His lawsuit claims that the alleged loan
represents the other half of the contract sum.
Mr. Kuku has hired a lawyer to represent him in the lawsuit,
and he vehemently denies that the Amnesty Office ever
borrowed money from Mr. Nwuche either in an official or
Mr. Tambuwal, who is currently the governor of Sokoto
State, carried out Mr. Nwuche’s wish by passing the inflated
budget of the Presidential Amnesty Office in the years Mr.
Nwuche handled the fraudulent contract at the agency
responsible for resettling restless Niger Delta ex-militants.
EFCC sources said the amnesty program became a slush
fund for lackeys of former President Goodluck Jonathan and
his wife. Some hitherto hidden monies traced to Mrs.
Jonathan were reportedly kickbacks she received from some
of the contractors she helped secure contracts from the
SaharaReporters contacted a spokesman to Governor
Tambuwal who promised to respond to our questions
regarding the former Speaker’s involvement in the scam but
did not get back to SaharaReporters as at the time of going