By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah & By Chibuzo Ukaibe, Abuja
The Presidency has dismissed reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) had declared an in-law of the president wanted in connection with a $65 million fraud, saying the suspect had ceased to be an in law to the president’s family some years ago
Gimba Yau Kumo, a former managing director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, was declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over an alleged misappropriation and diversion of the National Housing Fund, according to a notice published on the ICPC website and signed by its spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua.
But presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a statement yesterday that this should normally be an affirmation that the anti-corruption agencies/institutions are truly independent and allowed unfettered freedom by the president.
He said for a state institution can issue such is a measure of the administration’s commitment to accountability, equality and justice.
“To set the records straight, the person declared wanted by the ICPC is not an in-law to President Buhari.
While at some point in time the said fugitive from justice had been linked to a family member in marriage, that relationship ended some years ago.
“It is therefore unfortunate to bring the president’s family into this case. It is in our view an attempt to generate views and sell copies of sensational reporting.
“The president’s position at all times is that the law be allowed to take its course. As is well known of him, President Muhammadu Buhari will not provide any cover for crime, no matter who is involved,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the ICPC to track down the suspect.
The party urged the ICPC not to succumb to reported pressure from the cabal in the Presidency but track down Yau Kumo and bring him to book alongside his accomplices.
It also urged the Presidency to allow an open investigation of all those fingered in the fraud in the Nigeria Ports Authority and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The PDP national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the unfolding saga was a further confirmation that the Buhari Presidency was a “sanctuary for fraudsters, treasury looters and common criminals.”
Ologbondiyan, in a statement said it speaks volumes that the Buhari Presidency had remained silent in the face of this huge fraud involving the president’s son in-law, only for certain members of the cabal to be reportedly mounting pressure on the ICPC to let him off the hook.
“The PDP holds as wicked, afflicting and provocative that while millions of hardworking Nigerians cannot afford their daily meals and other basic necessities of life due to the misrule and corruption of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its administration, they are daily assailed by revelations of unbridled treasury looting under President Buhari’s watch.
“Is it not provocative that at the time the Buhari administration is moving to cut workers’ salaries; increase cost of fuel, electricity and other tariffs in a country with over 33 per cent unemployment and where citizens have been subjected to the worst forms of poverty, government officials, cronies and relations of those in power are busy looting our agencies and carting away our common patrimony?
“It is even more distressing that the looted FMBN money is part of funds contributed by Nigerians to meet their home needs which has instead fallen under the predatory proclivities of the APC administration.”