Acquisition of Keystone Bank, 9Mobile: Atiku chides EFCC, ask NASS to act
Former Vice President and Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has lambasted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over what he described as “failing to investigate how Alhaji Isa Funtua, a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, acquired Keystone Bank and 9Mobile (formerly Etisalat).”
Alhaji Atiku, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu, said: “the EFCC has failed to investigate the acquisition of the bank and telecommunications company because of Alhaji Funtua’s closeness to President Buhari.”
According to him, “It is not surprising that the EFCC has suddenly become prostrate and bluntly refused to investigate the acquisition of Keystone Bank and 9Mobile which have been widely adjudged to be fraudulent, if not outrightly criminal. The EFCC, like many other agencies under the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government has once again displayed partisanship.
“More importantly, the said Isa Funtua has been known to be a major player in the Presidency whose influence and reach have been less than salutary. A recent picture showing the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Godwin Emefiele bowing to Alhaji Funtua which recently went viral is proof enough of the stature of the President’s ally. The EFCC’s refusal to act therefore follows a familiar narrative”, he stated.
The statement also takes a swipe at the Presidency for failing to come out clean on what it knows about the transaction and simply asking for proof before it could act, alleging that such a lame disposition exposes the culpability of the President’s men.
According to Atiku, “While we hold on to the piece of evidence that we have, it is no longer in doubt that underhand dealings took place in the acquisition of Keystone Bank and 9Mobile. The roles played by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), both agencies of government have been widely reported and not controverted. The days of playing the ostrich by the Presidency are over. No more hiding for them”, he added.
He referred the presidency to trending online reports which, according to him, “detailed how Alhaji Funtua reportedly bought over the bank and telecom outfit with funds provided by AMCON, whose Chief Executive Officer is a son-in-law to the President’s friend.”
Atiku said, “Considering that the EFCC and other related agencies would not act as a result of partisanship to the ruling APC, the only hope at this stage is the National Assembly which we urge should take up the gauntlet.”
“The National Assembly as representatives of the people is the last hope. We cannot allow the looting and criminal acquisition of our collective patrimony. They plan to steal more if President Buhari wins a second term. The National Assembly and Nigerians must not allow them to take away legacies we ought to bequeath to generations unborn. We must rally against nepotistic rule and entrenchment of parochial cleavages as we have witnessed under the APC,” he declared.