N29.9m Contract: Presidency Says Corruption Allegation Against Buhari's Aide Is 'Fiction'
You know that man that is often with President Muhammadu Buhari almost everywhere he goes? His name is Abba Kyari and he is his Chief of Staff.
There is an allegation of corruption against him, in what looks like the president has been 'dining with corruption' unknowing to him.
But the presidency is defending him, saying the 'story is fiction', the kind you see in movies.
Punch Newspaper had in a publication said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had started work on a petition linking Mr Kyari, to a contract scam of about 29.9 million Naira.
Hours after that publication, the spokesman for President Buhari, Mr Garba Shehu, called it a 'dig at the presidential aide'.
He says the presidency takes strong offence to the improbable and outlandish publication by Punch Newspaper on Saturday and wishes to "state with full authority that the allegation is wrong and the Chief of Staff did not have any private meetings with the person making those allegations".
Shehu's statement read: "What is even more surprising is the decision by the newspaper to run the cooked up lies despite obvious loopholes in the story, such as the Bureau of Public Procurement’s denial that a major source for the story was a member of their staff.
"With a slew of crucial elections ahead, some politicians and their media agents appear to be working together to build pressure on the Buhari administration by wielding non-existent scandals against it.
"We equally note that the supply of 15 Hilux vehicles for the Presidency was an unlikely contract to have been awarded, as it did not exist anywhere in the 2016 and 2017 budgets".
He said the presidency had carried out further inquest into the matter and discovered further loopholes.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Abba Kyari
"Checking the appropriation for 2016 and 2017, that request is not even there. How could Abba Kyari have asked for money to award a contract that did not exist anywhere at all?
"In addition to that, the amount allegedly given in bribe was also suspicious, as the office of the presidential aide had been known in the past to receive imprest of 200 million Naira and above every month, with no one expected to give account.
"It was only since Abba Kyari occupied that position that things changed.
"In blunt terms, it is difficult to make a case of 29 million Naira bribery against an official who spurned a monthly payment of 200 million Naira to his office, money for which he didn’t need to account to anyone," Mr Shehu stated.
The president's spokesman further cautioned against what he called "'media's haste' to publish unverified accusations against government officials simply for the sensationalism value, without journalists doing the due diligence required of them by their profession".
He also stated that Punch Newspaper was notified of the various falsehoods contained in the allegations but still went ahead to publish the weak accusations.
"They should be prepared to face Abba Kyari in court," Mr Shehu added.
The Punch Newspaper had claimed in its publication that "the petitioner, Bako Waziri Kyari, who claimed to be a nephew to the Chief of Staff had said during a popular radio programme, Berekete Family, on Human Rights Radio 101.1FM in Abuja, that Kyari and Sani Ado, whom he claimed worked with the Bureau of Public Procurement, allegedly collected 29.9 million from him in order to facilitate the award of a contract".