The immediate past acting chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, arrested Tuesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, illegally received 23 luxury vehicles valued at N310 million from a controversial businessman, Jide Omokore, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
A source at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said the vehicles included a Mercedes G63 and a Range Rover Autobiography.
“His (Mr. Secondus) name popped up while we were investigating Jide Omokore, who lifted crude oil repeatedly through his Atlantic Energy but failed to remit the money to the government,” said the source.
Nigerian government insiders had told PREMIUM TIMES two weeks ago that Mr. Omokore had been compelled to release $14 million crude oil royalty his company, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, failed to remit to the federal treasury.
Mr. Secondus was picked up by the anti-graft operatives on Tuesday after investigators suspected he had served as a conduit for laundering Mr. Omokore’s funds.
“Mr. Omokore distributed money and gifts to politicians, and investigators are suspicious that actually those money and vehicles might have passed through him (Mr. Secondus) to other politicians,” the source said.
Mr. Omokore incorporated his company in 2010 and, shortly afterwards, signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, the upstream production subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Under the agreement, Atlantic Energy took charge of providing funds, technical services, drill, and selling of crude from four oil blocks – OML 26 FHN, OML 30 Shoreline, OML 34 Niger-Delta Oil, and OML 42 Neconde.
The company was later accused of lifting crude oil but remitting only a fraction of its worth to the Nigerian government.
Mr. Secondus is currently undergoing interrogation at the Commission’s headquarters.
Reacting to Mr. Secondus’ arrest, the PDP criticized the federal government’s “oppressive and unfair treatments” of its key leaders.
In a statement on Wednesday, the party said the arrest was part of a grand script by the All Progressives Congress-led government to decimate the opposition.
“We are also aware that plans have been perfected by the federal government to arrest and detain the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio and other leaders of the party on imaginary charges,” the party said in the statement signed by Victor Kwon, its National Legal Adviser.
“Indeed, intelligence available to the party shows that the federal government, using its various agencies, is bent on destroying any opposition to the ruling party as all indications show that the government is more interested in humiliating the PDP than fighting corruption.”