Exclusive : Secret moves to starve opposition of funds:CPC insiders accuse FG of ordering banks to freeze the party’s accounts …Inside CPC’s protest letter to Ecobank
By Danlami Nmodu
Fresh hints have emerged about what opposition stalwarts refer to as the secret moves to starve political parties other than the ruling Peoples Democratic Party ,PDP of funds.In particular, the Congress for Progressive Chang has been at the receiving end of what has been described as a secret moves that have led to the freezing of the party’s accounts,Newsdiaryonline.com was told by insiders.
Highly placed sources within CPC told Newsdiaryonline.com that the party noticed the initial moves to starve it of funds while the Presidential Election Tribunal was still sitting in 2011 l.CPC is known to have accounts in about five banks.And the first hint the party got of the secret moves was when First Bank refused to honour its cheques. “ That was how we knew something was amiss,” a source said.
Upon further inquiries, they found out there had been “orders from above” for the banks not to honour CPC cheques.Fortunately, said a CPC insider only “First Bank complied with this order from above.”That is why since July last year or thereabout CPC has not been able to operate the account with First Bank. Four other banks somehow failed to comply with the first order which allegedly from an arm of the presidency.
Newsdiaryonline.com learnt that as at the time the alleged ‘order from above’ reached the banks to freeze CPC accounts while the tribunal was still sitting, the party actually was broke when viewed from the point of the legal financial obligations it ought to meet.It was only in First Bank that the party could boast of N13million, a source said.That fund has remained frozen in the bank since last year.The source said in the four other banks the party had less than a million naira in each of the other accounts with four other banks.It was the accounts in the banks with lesser amounts that the party had access to while the petition lasted and that couldn’t provide for its solicitors’ comfort as they had to operate under very difficult conditions, an insider said.
Insiders said that the financial state of the party has gotten worse because yet another ‘ order and reminder of some sorts from above’ have reached all the banks.Now, sources said CPC accounts in all the banks have been frozen now.
Newsdiaryonline.com has obtained evidence that the party has threatened to sue Ecobank (which is one of the banks ) over its illegal decision to freeze its account. In a protest letter to the manager, Ecobank ,51,Gana Street,Maitama Abuja FCT, dated 28th March 2012,CPC urged the bank “to Take Notice that you have within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter to defreeze the said account,failing which we shall instruct our lawyers to file an action in the High Court of Justice claiming damages for illegal dishonouring of cheques and breach of contract”.Earlier ,CPC said “You must note that Your Bank does not have a colour of right to freeze the Party’s Account on a mere ‘Petition’ without the backing of an Order from a Court of Competent Jurisdiction”
The letter by CPC to Ecobank was signed by Engr.Buba Galadima,national secretary of the party.It was titled “Unjustifiable and unwarranted refusal to honour cheques belonging to the Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) Account No.0055524884”.In it the party said “our attention has been drawn to the fact that your Bank is no longer allowing the operation of the party’s Accounts on the ground that there is a pending petition against the operation of the said accounts by some disgruntled persons masquerading as the National Executive Committee.”
“It is instructive to note that the current National Executive Committee was elected in the Party’s National Convention that took place on the 4th -6th January ,2011.After the election of the National Executive Committee steps were immediately and promptly taken to notify (sic) in writing the fact that the former signatories to the accounts were no longer members of the National Executive Committee due to the change in the composition of the National Executive Committee of the party”
Furthermore, CPC noted that “The Party has operated the said accounts unhindered since January 2011 ,to the knowledge of you Bank and with your acquiescence. It is therefore disheartening and unacceptable that your Bank is now using a purported ‘petition’ and the fact that the signatories of the accounts are not the same with those that opened it as basis to hinder the operation of the account, even after it had allowed the party has operated ( sic) the said account since January, 2011.Your Bank has since accepted and approved the change of signatories of the Party’s Account through its signed Mandate Form”
The party vehemently said “your Bank cannot use a ‘petition’ that was written sometime in July ,2011 ,to freeze the accounts of the Party.The Party believes that the action of you bank is a calculated ploy to destroy the image and integrity of the Bank at the instance of its detractors who are scheming and manipulating your Bank from behind the scene to get back at it”
A chieftain of who spoke under the condition of anonymity told Newsdiaryonline.com that the party has virtually been under siege by some presidency elements .Among the steps allegedly taken in addition to the aforementioned facts include an alleged instruction to Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporations, NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to investigate the accounts of CPC. It is a strange claim to make as many will wonder why NDIC for instance? However ,the source added , “But we know neither NDIC nor CBN has issued a statement on the accounts. I think they are trying to find out who and who gave us money .Sadly for them, there is nothing substantial there.”
Worse still the party is being denied access to the little it says it has in the accounts. An attempt by Newsdiaryonline.com to hear from the presidency hit a brickwall.An SMS was sent to the presidential spokesman Dr Reuben Abati on Friday night.But he did not respond.
The CPC has already hinted that it may have no choice but to resort to the legal option. “The strategy of those who want to cripple the party” ,said an insider “is to keep us busy by fuelling one crisis and distraction repeatedly.It also includes using our disgruntled members to sabotage our party.They know we don’t have money and the steps they are taking is to give us more troubles to worry about, so that we will not have time and resources to organize and mobilize supporters nationwide”.