By Ayo Fadimu
Senators who served in the 7th Assembly when Senator David Mark was the Senate President are now living in fear over possible invitation and harassment by the anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)
This followed an allegation and planned detention of Mark by the EFCC on issues pertaining to slush funds shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Alison-Madueke, for the failed reelection bid of former President Goodluck Jonathan and another N2 billion allegedly paid into the account of the National Assembly during his tenure as the Senate president.
Mark was accused of being the arrowhead in the sharing of over N500 million given to the Benue State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2015 election.
He was also said to have shared the N2 billion allegedly paid into the account of the Senate among the 109 senators, including himself, when he was the boss of the National Assembly.
Some of the present Senators who were also at the 7th Assembly include Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, Wife of former Lagos State governor, Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Ali Ndume among others.
The charge against Mark is that he shared the money among all Senators irrespective of party affiliations, a charge denied by Mark.. .
He was first quizzed on Friday but released to obtain documents from his home in Benue State for the continuation of his interrogation.
But Mark in a statement by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, faulted the EFCC and insisted that he kept a clean record as a public officer.
The statement said: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports wherein it was reported that former President of the Senate David Mark was quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged financial transactions.
“To set the record straight, Senator Mark was invited by the EFCC via a letter addressed to the National Assembly to answer questions on the 2015 presidential election campaign funds as it concerned Benue State.
“As a law abiding citizen, Sen. Mark honoured the invitation. “Curiously, they also alleged that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) paid over N2 bilion into the National Assembly’s account which he, as the then President of the Senate, allegedly shared among the 109 Senators (including PDP, ACN, and ANPP) in 2010.
Again, to the best of his knowledge, Sen. Mark is not aware of such transaction. “This simply did not make sense to any right thinking member of the society. Sen. Mark wondered why anybody would think that PDP will pay money into National Assembly account. He, however, clarified all the issues raised before returning home.
“Sen. Mark believes in due process and rule of law. He has maintained a clean record of public service over the years and will continue to uphold the highest standard of conduct expected of public servants.
“Sen. Mark’s house has since become a pilgrimage of sort to politicians across party lines, friends and well-wishers identifying with him at this moment.
“He however appealed to his supporters, friends and associates to remain calm and see his current travails as a price he has to pay for leadership.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this is the first and only official statement from the office of Sen. Mark on this issue.”
Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that many opposition Senators and those who have axe to grind with the power that be are afraid that they may be harassed over the issue. :None of the Senators called by our Correspondent agreed to speak on the issue because of its seriousness but a Chieftain of PDP who craved anonymity said it’s a plot by the ruling APC to silence opposition.
“If the money is to prosecute election and ensure victory for PDP, why will the Senate President now give it to those in opposition? It’s absurd, laughable and very unreasonable “ he said.
“The ploy is not just against Mark but also Ekweremadu and other ranking Senators in the opposition “he added.
Efforts to get the reaction of the EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, was abortive because he was yet to respond to enquiry set to his mobile phone contact