Saturday

N750m polynotes contract scam: Soludo granted bail, travel documents seized


Soludo was picked up from his Abuja residence on Thursday by operatives of the EFCC over his alleged involvement in the printing of polymer banknotes contract scam amounting to N750 million.

But Saturday Vanguard gathered authoritatively that Soludo’s arrest followed a strong petition by a group known as Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) in May 2012, calling on the Commission to investigate the controversial contract awarded by the former CBN boss for the printing of polymer banknotes.
HEDA had alleged wrongdoing by Soludo and other Nigerian officials in the purported banknote printing and alerted the security agencies to arrest and prosecute all those involved in the multi-million Naira scam.
After many hours of interrogation by its operatives, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, admitted the former Central Bank Governor, Prof Charles Soludo, to administrative bail  Thursday night.

But the former Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Anambra State was asked to report back to the anti-graft agency on yesterday morning for further questioning. It was not clear if the renowned economist honoured the invitation after being asked to go home.

Also, the Imo State Finance Commissioner, Deacon Okafor John and Accountant General, Haeche-George, who were arrested over alleged N45 billion loan from Zenith Bank and diversion of local government funds were granted bail.

A source in EFCC confirmed the granting of administrative bail to the former CBN boss on certain conditions, which he did not elaborate.

One of the conditions for granting him temporary freedom was that he should surrender his diplomatic and international passports to the EFCC and to produce two sureties who should not be below the rank of permanent secretaries or directors in the Federal public service.

The source said, “Yes, it is true Soludo was released on bail around 9pm on Thursday but was asked to report back on Friday morning.

“We will continue to invite him for interrogation as the need arises since it is an ongoing investigation,” the official said.

Asked to explain the whereabouts of the other officials of the CBN and NMPCN, who were arrested along with Soludo, the source said that the other suspects were arrested and interrogated at different times, adding that they had made useful statements to the commission.
The source said he could not say what were taken away from the former CBN executive but that certain conditions were attached to his administrative bail.

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