Nduka-Obaigbena1The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday gave “ThisDay” publisher, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena a two-week ultimatum to refund N670million he allegedly collected on behalf of his company for unexecuted contracts from the $2.1billion arms funds.

“Obaigbena has signed an undertaking to refund the money in question. The anti-graft commission has also granted him an administrative bail,” an unnamed official of the commission disclosed last night.

Although, Obaigbena told the anti-graft investigators that he never benefitted from slush funds disbursed from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Sambo Dasuki, he admitted that the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan paid the said sums to “ThisDay” and the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) as compensation for the bombing of the newspaper house by Boko Haram  and the seizure of copies of many newspapers by the military.

The embattled publisher claimed there was a presidential proclamation by former President Jonathan that “ThisDay” will be compensated for the loss to Boko Haram.

Obaigbena was quizzed for two days on the activities of General Hydrocarbons and inflow into the company’s account from ONSA.

According to EFCC source, records from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) indicated that Nduka Obaigbena is a director of the General Hydrocarbons, which was one of the companies that received payments purportedly for contracts without contract documents or approval.

The source disclosed further: “Between December 8, 2014 and May 23, 2015, Obaigbena received N670million from ONSA. The reasons stated on the payment mandates are as follows: First tranche of N150million (environmental security project) and the remaining tranches (payment for energy consultancy)

“Obaigbena said he was paid compensation of N550 million for the bombing of “ThisDay” office in Abuja but there is no nexus between this payment and the money he collected for contracts. None of the sums shows that what he got from ONSA was compensation.

“The complaint before us is that the company was given money without contractual agreement. By all records, Obaigbena was paid for unexecuted contracts. It is government’s funds and he has to refund the N670million, “ the EFCC official said.

On the payment made to NPAN, the source simply said: “Investigation is still in progress”, stressing that EFCC operatives were courteous and Obaigbena was friendly and unperturbed during the investigation.

By Olisemeka Obeche

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