by Tolu Orekoya
Fallen pensions funds boss, Dr Sani Shu’aibu Teidi, is not willing to go down alone, it seems as he launches broad accusations at the Senator Aloysius Etuk-led Senate committee set up to investigate discrepancies in the country’s pension scheme.
Dr Teidi was the high-profile netting of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and was arraigned before the courts in November of 2011.
He made the accusation that he bribed the committee with the dollar-equivalent of N3 Billion to stall any accusations against himself. At current exchange rates, that amounts to US$18.71 million.
The finger-pointing didn’t stop there. Dr. Teidi went on to implicate former EFCC chairman Farida Waziri, and mentioned that there was discord within the group as one member tried to cheat the other out of their share of the bribe.
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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 a 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.
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.
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.