Why ex-Senate President Mark was arrested, quizzed
There were revelations yesterday on why former Senate President, Senator David Mark, was arrested and quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC).
A source in Mark’s camp told our correspondent that the EFCC wanted the former Senate President to account for the campaign cash sent to Benue State by the campaign team of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
But the source said that EFCC was merely chasing shadows because Mark was never a part of ex-President Jonathan’s campaign team.
“EFCC is chasing shadows, all the allegations border on sheer politics because 2019 poll is around the corner,” the source said yesterday.
It added: “They asked Mark to account for campaign cash sent to Benue State when Oga (Mark) was not part of ex-President’s Jonathan’s campaign team.
“In fact, the campaign team in Benue State was coordinated by ex-Governor Gabriel Suswam. The former Senate President was kept in the dark.
“Oga was sidelined during Jonathan’s campaign and there is no way he can account for what he did not know about.”
While Mark’s camp believes that his arrest by the EFCC had political undertone, a source said the former Senate President may issue a formal statement today (Saturday) on what transpired between him and the EFCC.
It was learnt yesterday that the EFCC had raised a new team to grill the former Senate President on Monday on the alleged campaign cash suspected to have been sourced from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Barring any last-minute change of schedule, the ex-President of the Senate has been advised to return to the EFCC on Monday for a comprehensive grilling.
“A team of detectives has been raised to interrogate him. After the session on Monday, the EFCC will then release the details on why Mark was invited.
“So far, we don’t want to take any action which may jeopardise ongoing investigation of the ex-President of the Senate.”
Offering an insight into what transpired between Mark and EFCC officials before he was granted administrative bail on Thursday, a source in Mark’s camp said: “One online medium is talking of money shared to Senators. But when Oga was confronted, he said he had no knowledge of the amount in question.
“He asked the EFCC operatives to show any evidence linking him with the sharing of any cash. These operatives could not produce a sheet of the beneficiaries of the so-called funds.
“Mark has not shown interest in any office in 2019 and they have started hounding him. It is really unfortunate.”
Asked of the next step, the source added: “The ex-President of the Senate may issue an official statement on Saturday (today).”
Meanwhile, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu has promised to launch in-depth investigation into the cases of corruption reported by the ECOWAS Commission President, Marcel de Souza.
A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC said Magu made the disclosure during a visit the ECOWAS President paid him.
Magu said: “I am happy to see you here. I assure you that we will launch investigation into the activities in the Commission (ECOWAS), and we will soon sanitise it.
“We have a strategy to unravel any fraudulent activity. We will partner with you to bring corrupt elements within the system to justice.”
The President of the ECOWAS Commission however commended the EFCC for its resolve in tackling corruption in Nigeria.
He said the agency “compares with similar bodies in the West for its efficiency and effectiveness.”
He added: “We are here to appreciate the great job EFCC is doing in fighting corruption and to see how the agency can help us investigate some cases of internal corruption within the ECOWAS Commission.”
While commending President Buhari for making the fight against corruption a cardinal focus of his government, Souza said that “there is no gainsaying that the efforts of the present administration in redeeming the image of Nigeria in the international community are yielding positive results.”