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JUST IN: Atiku must explain role in collapsed BankPHB upon return from US

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The Federal Government, on Friday, said that the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) next month’s presidential  election and a former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has questions to answer when he returns from his trip to the United States regarding his role in the collapse of former BankPHB.

This is even as it said the invitation to answer questions implies that the former vice president will be arrested on his return.

Atiku who has not visited the US in 13 years, arrived Washington DC, on Thursday, ahead of his schedule speaking engagements at the US Chamber of Commerce, on Friday.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents during a briefing, saying Atiku has questions to answer “Following fresh evidence that he benefitted from slush funds that led to the collapse of BankPHB”.

According to the minister, the government has in its possession “paper trail which shows that he (Atiku) benefitted from a N156 million.

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“It started from an internal memo dated 13 January, 2009 asking that a draft in favour of Atiku Abubakar of N156 million should be raised,” he said.

Mohammed further disclosed that another memo on the same date was raised to confirm that the amount was raised from a “claimant management account”.

The minister said the federal Government has proof of the account mandate, cheque and account statement showing Atiku Abubakar as the signatory to the account that received the money.

“We want him to stay in the US for as long as he wants but he has to explain to Nigerians when he returns,” he said.

Mohammed, speaking in the visit, recalled that the government had earlier issued a statement advising the US not to issue Atiku a visa.

He, however, said it remains the prerogative of the US Government to issue visa to anyone.

“We are not perturbed one bit. He can go ahead and get a US green card. That will not save him from imminent defeat in the forth-coming election,” the minister said.

He also said “election will be held here not in the US”.