Nigerian lawyer Mike Ikenna Ahamba, who once represented President Muhammadu Buhari, has denied reports that he collected some political slush funds reportedly distributed by former Petroleum Minister Alison-Madueke.
In a statement, Mr. Ahamba said the widely reported allegation that he received hundreds of millions of naira was unfounded. He stated that only the Punch Newspaper had contacted him to hear his side before publishing the report. He accused other newspapers of publishing the negative report about him without “any respect for the rule of fair hearing and journalistic decorum,” calling their decision “a surprise and an embarrassment to me.”
Mr. Ahamba admitted that officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had invited him to report at their office in Enugu in connection with an investigation. “The invitation was by way of a letter delivered five days ahead of time for me to report, which was to be on Monday the 2nd May 2016 which turned out to be a public holiday. Consequently, by a mutual discussion on the telephone the meeting was shifted to Tuesday, the 3rd May 2016. I kept that appointment,” wrote the lawyer.
He added: “The issue was whether I collected any money personally from the money sent to Imo State PDP for election expenses through Fidelity Bank. This I categorically denied, as at no time did I receive any fraction of that money either to spend on behalf of the party or to deliver to any individual on behalf of the party; or to retain for personal use. My first reaction when I read those newspaper reports was to ignore them. But given the numerous phone calls I’ve received from within and outside Nigeria from persons I believe are concerned about this attempt to soil my reputation, I decided to issue this clarification.”
He said the EFCC was “within its responsibility for the rule of law by inviting me to make clarifications on an issue that affected my name.” According to him, the EFCC “released me unconditionally after my statement, stating that if they needed my further attention, they would inform me. If they do, I will respond and co-operate in aid of their investigations, which is still on-going.”
He accused newspapers and other media outlets, notably the Vanguard Newspaper, of publishing “self-manufactured facts,” declaring his faith in the Igbo saying, Nkeiruka, which translates as the future, is greater.