As operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, move to unveil the beneficiaries of the N3.1 billion withdrawn from the account of the National Security Adviser in the Central Bank of Nigeria for political campaign, one of the recipients of the cash bonanza has slipped out of the country. Sources at the anti-graft agency said last night that the former minister, who hails from one of the South-East states, sneaked out of Nigeria just before the EFCC blew the lid on the huge cash withdrawal. The former minister, who is believed to have collected as much as N350 million of the cash, left for a European nation just before the information on the six key Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains, who drew the cash was made open by the anti-graft agency last week.
But a source close to the former minister defended her, claiming that she left the country two weeks ago for the foreign country without prejudice to the cash or investigation by the EFCC. “Madam has, however, been informed of the amount of money she is said to have received from the ONSA for political campaign but she is not in Nigeria as we speak. “The woman has been informed of what the anti-graft agency has said about her but we don’t know when she will return to Nigeria,” a close aide of the former minister said yesterday. Of the N3.1 billion cash withdrawn from the CBN on the instruction of the embattled former NSA, a former minister collected N840 million, leaving the balance to be shared by five other party chieftains. Last Sunday, another former female minister who reportedly provided the account into which the cash was paid and actually disbursed the money, left Nigeria and is yet to return. A source said that although most of the beneficiaries claimed they had the permission of the former President to collect the cash to campaign for him, the President might not have had any knowledge of such transactions.