A grand corruption scheme involving two of President Muhammadu Buhari’s trusted aides has been uncovered.
Investigations by SaharaReporters indicated that Senior Special Assistant to the President (Domestic), Abba Sarki, and Personal Assistant and Private Secretary, Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf, in collaboration with some Ministry of Power officials had pushed the government to commit to the purchase of a building for the Transmission Company of Nigeria at a grossly inflated price in Abuja.
Despite the Ministry of Works and Housing not giving approval for the purchase of the building, Sarki and Yusuf had pushed their cronies in the Ministry of Power further to actualise the purchase of the property for around N14bn to N17bn – a rate many times higher than the original cost of the building.
The plan, according to findings by SaharaReporters, was to at the end give access of the huge funds to the two President Buhari’s aides, who thereafter are to distribute to other partakers in the fraudulent scheme before pocketing the rest.
A top source at the Ministry of Power privy to the corrupt scheme gave more insights while speaking with our correspondent on Sunday.
He said, “This building is being pushed by Abba Sarki, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Domestic) and Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf for Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“Accordingly, the building will be paid by the Federal Government, so the TCN were not directly involved. The Ministry of Works and Housing did not give the approval to the request by Ministry of Power.
“For TCN, they are comfortable where they are and the current building was built by PHCN/TCN superannuation fund. But the ministry is claiming the building was given to them by former President, Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
“The Minister of Power now wants to buy Gilmo building, which was a small building that cannot accommodate TCN’s staff at a highly inflated price of about N14bn to N17bn which would go to Sabiu ‘Tunde’ Yusuf and Abba Sarki.”
In a memo dated July 19, 2019 and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing before it was split into two, Louis Edozien, the ministry responded to a request by the TCN for a dedicated and convenient office accommodation and thereafter established a joint committee to look it to all relevant issues on the subject.
Insiders informed SaharaReporters that underground moves had been going on to achieve the target by the two aides of President Buhari despite the administration’s claims to be waging a war against corruption and looting of public funds in the country especially by government officials.
Yusuf, a young man in his 30s, is regarded as one of the most powerful individuals around President Buhari.
Until his appointment by the President, he was said to be surviving on proceeds made from the sale of call cards in his native Daura, a small community in Katsina State in the Northern part of the country.
Presidency sources said that the young man had amassed so much wealth in a short space of time that he can almost afford anything money can buy these days despite not from a wealthy background or having any known work history apart from serving in Buhari’s government.
Yusuf’s latest scandal is an open war with President Buhari’s wife, Aisha, over his refusal to embark on a 14-day isolation period after returning from a trip to Lagos.
Beaten and forced out of Aso Villa by the security details of Aisha, Yusuf with the collaboration of Buhari’s Chief Security Officer and support of Mamman Daura, ordered the arrest and detention of the First Lady’s security.
The situation has since left the entire Presidential Villa tensed with no respite close by at the moment.
When contacted by SaharaReporters, spokespersons for the TCN and Ministry of Power refused to comment on the purchase of the building for the electricity agency.
Calls and text messages to the mobile numbers were not replied as of the time of this report.
(c) June 2020