PTF funds: Obasanjo clears Buhari over corruption accusation

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said his government probed the accounts of the Petroleum Trust Fund headed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and found nothing wrong.
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It would be recalled that Buhari headed the PTF which was inaugurated in March 1995, under the regime of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha. It was established to manage the funds generated from the increase in the pump price of petrol from N3.25 to N11.

However, Obasanjo upon assuming presidency in 1999 scrapped the PTF and also set up a committee to investigate its accounts following allegations of a N25bn fraud in the agency.

Obasanjo, however, revealed in Ogun State when Buhari and other national leaders of the APC visited him at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, that the investigation came back clean, adding that he didn’t find anything incriminating concerning the APC candidate.

“When you were going to become the manager of PTF. We talked about it and when you finished and I took over, we looked into it.

“I haven’t said this publicly, I would say it publicly now. When we looked into it, there was really nothing amiss except that that organisation went from road building to mosquito net-buying and all sorts of things.

“And what the investigation discovered is a bit of inconsistency in prices and all that. In one area, mosquito net might have been given for N50; in another, N45. And I then remarked that this is fishy. We should look into it.

“And I called my brother and colleague (Buhari), I said see this and he said ‘look we are managing billions of Naira and I tried to make sure I see everything.But I will not say that what they have said about this is correct or not correct. But I can assure you, I tried to see everything.’

“I said okay Muhammadu, between me, you and God, was there any personal benefit for you? And you said ‘no.’ I said that is the end of the matter.

“Although there was that investigation, its report was not of any material importance,” Obasanjo said.

The ex-President also called on Buhari and other presidential candidates to address the issues of insecurity, the deteriorating economy and infrastructural deficit. He also advised them to make their campaigns issue-based rather than trivialities.

He said, “I hope people will face issues rather than trivialities. On occasions like this, issues are very important. And you have mentioned three areas which are demanding issues in Nigeria today.

“I will just beg all of you who are contesting to add one to it; you mentioned economy, you mentioned corruption, and you mentioned security.

“I will beg of you to add infrastructure. It’s very important. You may take it as part of economy but I will take infrastructure as special and give it special attention.”

Speaking earlier, Buhari said, if elected, his government would tackle corruption, address the infrastructural deficit, insecurity and the economy.

He said, “It’s a fact that you know more than all we know about the problem that we are in. But what we’ll do is try to convince you to believe us that we are going to do better.

“We have been going around three fundamental issues: security, economy, corruption. This vicious circle is what the APC is determined to break.

“Because without security, there is no way the country can settle down not to talk of living in it. So many people, educated and uneducated, some said up to 60 per cent, will say Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder.

“We believe that if we are able to stop corruption, a lot of resources will be available to invest in infrastructure, get the factories to reopen, get jobs and get goods and services. So security, economy, in terms of employment, production, manufacturing, goods and services, and then agriculture will again be given impetus to employment.”

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