The governing All Progressives Congress has tasked the anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the alleged relationship between leading figures of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Ramon Olorunwa Abbas also known as “Ray Hushpuppi” who was recently arrested along with associate(s) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and extradited to the United States of America to face trial over cyber-enabled fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekeen Nabena in a statement asked the EFCC, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and other sister agencies to investigate money laundering reports linking some PDP leaders and financiers to the Dubai-based international criminal ring.
Nabena who claimed that the PDP leadership turned Dubai into their “Strategic” meeting place ahead of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria further claimed that the Instagram celebrity “affinity with the PDP leadership is not mere coincidence.”
The APC spokesperson specifically mentioned former vice president and PDP presidential candidate in last general elections, Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President, Bukola Saraki amongst PDP chieftains who met with Ray Hushpuppi”
He said: “At different times, “Hushpuppi” was been photographed in Dubai meeting with the PDP’s 2019 presidential candidate, Alh. Atiku Abubakar; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Senator Dino Melaye among other PDP stalwarts.
“While relevant authorities investigate the nature of their relationship and business partnership, we also challenge the PDP leadership to do the same by opening up on the nature of the relationship, particularly the kind of services the arrested “Hushpuppi” provided them.”
But Saraki in his defence described APC’s claim as irresponsible.
Yusuph Olaniyonu, media aide to Saraki in a statement said the former Senate President “has no form of association with the said suspect, Ramon Abbas otherwise known as Hushpuppi and neither does he know him in any way.”
Saraki accused the ruling party of playing dirty, cheap, and irresponsible politics with cybercrime while he recalled his efforts to call government attention to its deleterious effect on the country’s economy.
“The statement credited to the APC, the ruling party in our country, is one of the ways by which our anti-graft agencies are weakened and why the fight against corruption in the country is often viewed with suspicion by the international community. This is because when these cyber-crime suspects were operating freely and openly displaying wealth, the APC saw nothing bad in their activities. Also, the party at that time did not deem it necessary to call on the anti-graft agencies to investigate their activities.
“Also, since the arrest of those cybercrime suspects and the subsequent damage to the image and the economy of Nigeria as well as the crisis it created for Nigerians engaged in lawful businesses across the world, the ruling party had been muted. The only time the APC deemed it necessary to make a statement was when it thought it should play dirty, cheap, and irresponsible politics.
“Dr. Saraki was the only political leader who has publicly made a statement through an Op-Ed article published in the Daily Trust newspaper of July 1, 2020, titled “Cyber Criminals: Confronting The Few Who Dent Many” and this opinion article had been widely circulated online and on other platforms. In that article, he strongly condemned the activities of these cybercriminals and called on the law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to make decisive interventions to checkmate their activities. He has also got a research institution, the Politeia Institute, whose board he chairs to commence research on the best ways to tackle the menace.
“Such a noble intervention in tackling a menace is what Dr. Saraki believes in, not mudslinging and playing politics at the expense of the nation’s image. At this point, we call on the APC leadership to rein in the so-called Yekini Nabena and compel him to desist from making and circulating such malicious, odious and offensive claims.”