Sani Shu’aibu Teidi, one of the suspects standing trial before the Federal High Court, Abuja, for the massive looting of the pension treasury, has alleged that he and other accomplices paid the Senator Aloysius Etuk-led Senate Committee a N3bn bribe in dollars.
The bribe, it was alleged, was to stall the prosecution of the accused persons.
The bribe scandal took another dimension following the mentioning of the name of the immediate past chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, who allegedly working with the mindset that the Senate Committee would make good its promise of stalling the case of the accused persons, also got a property located at Parakou Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja, as bribe.
The principal suspect further alleged that the Senator Aloysius Etuk-led committee failed to fulfil an earlier promise of helping to stall their prosecution after collecting the N3bn contributory bribe.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the allegations are already causing ripples within the Senate committee.
A source close to the principal accused, Dr. Teidi, said that the cause of the disaffection within the Senate committee was borne out of the discovery that, out of the N3bn obtained as bribe from the six accused, Senator Etuk attempted to outsmart his colleagues by declaring only N500million, a paltry one-sixth of the actual bribe he allegedly collected and also participated in the sharing.
The source added that Dr. Teidi and other accomplices paid the Sen. Etuk-led committee the N3bn bribe in dollars after Teidi was coerced into giving details of his assets/ properties, with the promise to soften the severity of his offence, after which he was asked to give out 50 per cent to them.
An obviously angry Dr. Teidi “felt betrayed by the Senate committee leadership’s greed and inability to properly handle our (the accused persons’) matter before” it, our source added, and he therefore resolved to make public all information on the botched agreement.
“In fact, the N3bn bribe offered the senate committee was contributed by all the accused persons, each with the amount of N500million. The committee made us believe that when we give the money being demanded, it will give us a safe landing, thereby escaping prosecution, but, to our greatest dismay, they only succeeded in cutting their own share,” the source quoted Dr. Teidi.
According to the source who pleaded anonymity, trouble started when the deputy chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya got wind of the exact sum offered by the accused from an independent source, who is also his kinsman, a former director of the Police Pension Board and incidentally a relation of one of the accused standing trial before the Abuja Court and confronted Senator Etuk with his findings.
The accused director, who hails from the same constituency with the Kano State-born Senator, alleged that he used his own pension loot to buy substantial shares in one of the national dailies, and was said to have approached Gaya to know why their case was yet to be quashed as promised after availing them of the N3bn bribe as requested – a disclosure which shocked the committee’s vice chairman.
The matter took a turn for the worse with Senator Etuk denying the charge levelled against him by the suspects, and other members allegedly lost confidence in him.
The Senator however did not pick the repeated calls made to his phone and neither did he respond to LEADERSHIP’s text messages which sought clarification over the matter.
Senator Etuk had urged the EFCC, the police and other anti-graft agencies to investigate the allegation against him and his committee, claiming that it was the chairman of the task force team who had been trailing the committee with bribe offer to influence the pension scam investigation.
He was quoted to have said that obtained evidence and fact would speak for itself when his committee’s report was submitted to the Senate, not the sentiment of a desperate fellow whose fraud and corrupt act has been exposed. “The committee never and will never request for bribe,” he said.