One time Presidential Adviser in the Second Republic, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, yesterday, owned up to collecting the sum of N53 million, part of the controversial arms deal fund, from the former Board of Trustee Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Antony Anenih, but said he won’t refund a penny as he had used it for the purpose it was intended.
Chief Anenih had days back informed an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) interrogation team that the sum of N250 million he collected from the office of the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, a retired Colonel, was shared to some senior Nigerian citizens, including Alhaji Yakasai, who got N63 million.
But the veteran politician had to quickly react in series of interviews with journalists that the amount Chief Anenih gave him as fund for advocacy visit to top northern traditional leaders for the purpose of mobilizing citizens towards a hitch free and peaceful 2015 election, was N53 million and not N63 million as the former PDP chieftain said in his confessional statement to the EFCC.
The Octogenarian elder statesman said he would not join the band wagon of Nigerians rushing to make refunds of their share of the so-called arms deal fund because he has not committed any crime, as far as he was concerned; insisting that the money he got did not go into his personal pocket.
“I think the question of whether I will refund the money does not arise here; it is like jumping the gun. At the first instance, no body gave me money on my personal capacity…”.
He said he was handed the money with a specific assignment, which was to mobilise northern Nigerian chiefs and monarchs on the need for supporting peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections. He said his team, which consisted nine notable Nigerian elders had carried out advocacy visits to many monarchs in the north, and had completed their “national assignment” as directed.
He said any form of invitation from the EFCC would not worry him.
“I have committed no crime…and like I said earlier, I am ready, at any given time, to respond to invitation by the EFCC, because I am ready to clear my name”., he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week, precisely on the 30th of December, 2015 said during his maiden Presidential Media Chat that all those culpable evidence has proven they that shared from the diverted arms deal fund would be made to make refunds, then prosecuted and jailed if found guilty.