The Labor Party’s National Labor Committee says it has investigated the alleged N40 million fraud against its national chairman, Julius Abure, and found him not guilty.
While revealing that his decision to sack Ogun’s state chapter of the party and his ex-cos was taken with diligence, the NWC said it had given Abure a clean bill of health to continue in office.
The embattled LP chairman has been accused of siphoning proceeds from the party’s nomination forms to his private transport company account.
The allegation of corruption was raised in a petition addressed to the LP National Executive Committee and presidential standard bearer, Peter Obi, by the ousted LP National Publicity Secretary Abayomi Arabambi.
The petition, which was made available to The PUNCH, was written by their attorneys Kaiser Oghenetejire & Co.
Arabambi, who claimed he was illegally ousted through a coup orchestrated by Abure and National Secretary Umar Farouk, claimed the president grossly violated provisions of the party’s Constitution by fraudulently enriching himself and denying candidates their tickets.
Their petition read in part: “Julius Abure, the National Chairman of the Labor Party, diverted over N40,000,000 of the party’s nomination form sales to his private transport company account with Access Bank Plc as payments, in serious breach of the provisions of the 2019 Labor Party constitution as amended by fraudulently enriching himself and then denying tickets to candidates after collecting their money.”
Arabambi alleged that Abure had defrauded aspirants and candidates on different occasions on the party platform and called on the party to investigate the allegations.
He cited the case of a candidate for the Lagos West senatorial seat, George Gabriel Chiadikaobi, who paid N2.5 million into the Lagos party account and another N2.5 million into the Abure business account in August and another candidate for the House of Representatives based in Lagos, Umeadi. Emmanuel Azubike, who paid N3m and N1m respectively on July 6.
According to him, Abure brought four thugs with makeshift weapons or guns who he initially thought were members of the Department of State Services to harass him when he came to present evidence of the president’s fraudulent activities during Thursday’s NWC meeting at the Hotel Wuse 2 from Barcelona. Abuja.
“Julius Abure’s actions constituted a coup which amounted to suspending the Labor Party constitution for the implementation of draconian decrees in lieu of the party’s constitutional provisions regarding his suspension and unlawful removal as National Publicity Secretary and also as Ogun State Executive Council.
“Abure begged me to hide the details of how he embezzled 40 million naira belonging to the Labor Party, but I refused to do so. That’s why they illegally removed me.
“I called for an immediate financial audit investigation of all Labor party accounts to determine the extent of financial misappropriation and impropriety perpetrated through illegal transactions involving the sale of party nomination forms and expression of interest,” told our correspondent.
A furious Arabambi also vowed to challenge his illegal dismissal as LP image maker in a competent court to test the Labor Constitution.
Efforts to reach the embattled national president were unsuccessful at the time of writing this report.
But the LP’s national secretary, Umar Farouk, told our correspondent to ignore the rantings of the suspended publicity secretary and other accusations raised by party enemies.
Defending the party chairman, Farouk claimed that nowhere in the petition was Abure accused of directly collecting the alleged fraudulent proceeds.
While describing it as a watery report, the secretary revealed that it was an attempt to distract Labor from winning the 2023 election.
He said: “In politics, one cannot run away from various accusations from people who are not really in tune with the progress of the party. But I can tell you categorically that the NWC has passed a confidence vote on the leadership of the national president.
“Each part of that indictment has been reviewed and we have not seen anything financially wrong with what the indictment claims. It’s just watered down. I can assure you that the party will also contest the action in the court of proper jurisdiction.
“In said indictment, nowhere was the name of our president mentioned, except in the headline. All subsequent narration in the report was simply watered down and mere allegation.
“We are not going to be distracted. People feel that we are not strong, but this action that we are taking is making us stronger. We are not afraid to make decisions as long as it is in line with the Constitution of the party and the candidate.
“We are also not aware of people entering the party to cause chaos. Some scoundrels will go and say things that are not actually happening at the party. Things like money shared or stolen by certain people. If you have proof of such a report, come tell us you are a member, this is your membership card, and what really happened.
“Many people are being sponsored into the party to cause problems that don’t exist. We advance as our slogan says. Never forward, never back.
“For now, the national president, the lawyer Julius Abure, has the support of all NWC and NEC members.”