Polymer notes scam: EFCC probes Soludo – Yar’Adua unhappy

FORMER governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo, who is also the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 6, 2010 election in Anambra State, is facing a probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the handling of N20 polymer notes contract in 2006.

Soludo is already facing court cases over the manner in which he emerged the candidate of the PDP in the 2010 election, with one of the candidates already securing an injunction to bar him from parading himself as a candidate.

But apart from the battle for Anambra, the Nigerian Tribune gathered that the presidency had given the nod to the EFCC to commence investigations into the alleged fraud over the printing of the N20 polymer notes in 2006. The news broke recently that Australian authorities were probing Securency, a firm which won the printing of the Nigerian naira notes in 2006 for Euro 59.88 per 1,000 notes.

It was gathered that President Umaru Yar’Adua was disturbed last week, when the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, and some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) visited him over the Anambra saga.

After the PDP NWC members briefed him on the unfolding situation, the president was said to have expressed concern that the PDP leaders had led the party into a quagmire over the Soludo matter.

It was gathered that some initial reports on the polymer notes saga had reached the president before the visit and had been referred to the EFCC.

A Presidency official said that Professor Soludo would soon be questioned over the deal. Shortly after the Awka high court granted injunction against the ex-CBN governor, a top PDP member said: “That is not the last; we learnt the EFCC is coming for him. 

“It was on the basis of intelligence reports available that the president asked the party’s leaders to ensure the process leading to the primaries was transparent, while not being prejudicial to the innocence of the former CBN boss in all allegations. But the process seemed to have been fluffed and the party is battling with the aftermath. That the polymer notes scandal is also coming up now is seen as a distraction and the president is of the view that the candidate that would lead his party to victory should be able to concentrate on campaigns,” a source close to the Presidency said at the weekend.