A former deputy director with the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, Charles Osuji, has admitted to collecting bribes on behalf of its former Director-General, Nasir el-Rufai.
Osuji confessed in Abuja on Saturday before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee investigating the privatisation of companies and institutions by the BPE saying he was going to Adenuga on behalf of El-Rufai even when the transactions on the sale of National Oil had been concluded.
He also said that when he brought the money to El-Rufai, he refused to collect it because, “Adenuga brought the money in bits and so it was incomplete.”
According to Osuji, El-Rufai eventually ordered his dismissal from the BPE.
Although he did not disclose the amount that was given to him as bribe for El-Rufai, he explained that he could not deliver the entire bribe sum because the money was given to him in bits.
But El-Rufai in his reaction, said Osuji first brought a N25m Zenith Bank cheque to him but he ordered him to return the money to Adenuga, who had already acquired National Oil. Osuji subsequently returned with $100,000 cash which he did not accept.
El-Rufai, “I reported the matter to the Vice President who was the Chairman of the NCP, and he and the then Attorney General, Bola Ige requested that Osuji be prosecuted.”
The former FCT minister said Osuji could not be prosecuted because Ige died shortly after that, but the NCP directed that he should be dismissed.
Chairman of the committee, Ahmed Lawan and members of the committee were shocked to hear the story and they said Osuji should have been arrested and prosecuted for his actions.
Femi Falana, a renowned lawyer and an activist who also appeared before the committee, said the privatization process opened Nigeria to massive looting by those who pretended to be interested in improving the country.
“Some of the revelations were quite startling. In fact, some of the stories are scandalous. We need to confirm the truth about some of these startling revelations,” Falana said.
Lawan pointed out that the committee would visit some privatized public enterprises after its two-week break to see first hand the development some core investors claimed to have achieved.