I received several cars from Omokore –Secondus

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A former Acting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Uche Secondus, on Thursday admitted that detained businessman, Mr. Jide Omokore, gave him some cars.

He, however, said the cars, which he received over 10 years, were mere gifts.

But the former national chairman of the main opposition party didn’t mention the number of the cars which he received from the oil magnate.

Secondus, who was released on bail by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday evening, spoke with journalists at the party’s secretariat in Abuja.

He said he willingly honoured an invitation extended to him by the commission on February 23 “to clarify issues related to an ongoing investigation.”

He described his ordeal in the hands of the commission as political persecution.

During his interrogation, Secondus said he was confronted with allegations that he received some cars from Omokore, who he said had been his friend for over 20 years.

He said, “They (the commission) confronted me with allegations of receiving some cars from Mr. Jide Omokore, who has been my friend for over 20 years.

“I admitted to them that Mr. Jide Omokore has given me car gifts on several occasions in the last 10 years for my personal use.

“I want to state categorically that what I received from my friend, Jide Omokore, were cars and buses supplied by a well-known car company, Skymit Motors, apparently from a credit facility Mr. Omokore has with the company.

“I don’t have any knowledge of the so-called transaction the investigators are alleging he has with the NNPC.”

Secondus, who didn’t take questions during the short briefing, said it was disheartening that the facts of the matter under investigation had been grossly misrepresented in the media, an action he said could have been induced by a serving minister.

He described his eight days in the custody of the commission as a “clear case of a witch-hunt and pure political persecution,’’ which he claimed had ‘‘become the stock in trade of the APC-led government.”

Meanwhile, a former Minister of Defence and ex-Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello, has applied for the permission of a Federal High Court in Abuja to travel abroad for medical treatment.

The EFCC, on January 5, 2016, arraigned Bello; his son, Abba; and a firm, BAM Project and Properties Limited, before the court on four counts of money laundering involving the sum of N300m allegedly meant for security.

The prosecution, led by Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), says BAM Project and Properties belongs to Abba.

The EFCC alleged that instead of using the N300m to provide “safe houses”, the purpose for which the money was released to them by the Office of the National Security Adviser in March, 2015, the accused allegedly expended it on PDP’s presidential campaign.

Bello’s passport and that of his son had been seized by the court as part of the bail conditions imposed by the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, in his ruling on January 7.

The ex-minister’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), informed the judge on Thursday that he had filed an application, seeking an order of the court tentatively releasing his client’s passport to enable him to travel abroad on health grounds.

Bello had appeared for his arraignment on January 5 in a wheelchair.

His lawyer said, while arguing the defendant’s bail application, that the ex-minister was then on admission in the hospital recovering from surgery.

Though he is no longer wheeled to the court in the last few court sessions, he now attends his trial using a walking stick.

The judge, on Thursday, fixed March 23 for hearing of Bello’s application and for the continuation of the cross-examination of the prosecution’s first witness, Rouqayyat Ibrahim.

Ibrahim had, in her evidence-in-chief during the previous court proceedings on February 16, revealed fresh evidence of additional N300m, which the accused allegedly received in fraudulent manner from the ONSA, then under Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

 

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