The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked the bribery allegation over housing allowances returned by officials of the party.
Pageone reported that no fewer than four members of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party returned N122.4 million paid into their accounts by the party.
In the letters sighted by our correspondent, the money was said to be paid as housing allowance into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.
One of the beneficiaries, the National Vice Chairman (South), Chief Dan Orbih, wrote in his letter notifying the party of returning the money, “My attention has been drawn to a damaging trending story reported in THE NATION Newspaper by Yusuf Alli on September 26, 2022, titled ‘Disquiet in the PDP NWC over N10 billion nomination fees.’ Amongst several other allegations, he alleged that members of the NWC were offered N28 million to gloss over scandalous financial misappropriation.
“To my shock and surprise, it has been confirmed to me by my bank that the sum of N28,800,000 (Twenty-eight million, eight hundred thousand naira) has been credited to my account by the party. I hereby notify you of my decision to pay back the money to the party’s account.
“Kindly confirm receipt of Zenith Bank Manager’s cheques of: N10,000,000, N10,000,000, N8,800,000, TOTAL = N28,800,000 to the Party’s account, A/C: 1000095003, Globus Bank PLC.”
Others who wrote to return the allowance are the party’s National Vice Chairman (South-West) Olasoji Adagunodo; the Deputy National Chairman (South) Taofeek Arapaja; and National Women Leader, Prof. Stella Affah-Attoe.
Responding in a statement signed by the PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the party described the allegation as misleading.
The PDP said the housing allowances were duly paid to the beneficiaries having passed through the party’s laid down processes.
The statement added that the refund by some of the beneficiaries did not suggest that the allowances were paid as bribes
The statement read: “The attention of the National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party has been drawn to misrepresenting reports in a section of the media alluding strange and unfounded motives to the Housing Allowance duly approved and paid to NWC members and staff of the Party.
“The NWC has noted that this misleading report stemmed from an unfounded publication by a particular media outlet which suggested that the Housing Allowance, an entitlement duly approved and paid to national officials and staff of the Party, amounted to bribery.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in an unequivocal term that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as bribe for any purpose whatsoever for that matter.
“To set the record straight, the Housing Allowance being referred to went through the Due Process of the Party in line with the Conditions of Service and Entitlement of the Staff and Principal Officers of the Party.
“If any individual, for any reason, decides to return money duly approved and paid, such does not in any way suggest that the money was paid as bribe or indicate that it was illegitimate or unlawfully paid.
“A bribe is defined as ‘money or any other valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behaviour of a person especially in that person’s performance as a public official…’ This is not the case in the payment of Housing Allowance duly approved for officials and staff of the Party.
“The PDP, therefore, urges all members, teeming supporters and the general public to disregard the report and misleading insinuation which are clearly designed to malign the PDP, cause disaffection and distract our Party from our mission to Rescue, Rebuild and Redirect our nation from the misrule of the All Progressives Congress.”