The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission confirmed on Monday that it had retrieved N100 million out of the N170 million traced to the account of the former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Mr. Jafaru Isah.
The Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, confirmed the retrieval of the cash from Isah, adding that it was the partial refund that informed his administrative bail to enable him to go and source for the balance.
Magu, who made the disclosure in response to criticism that he quickly released the APC chieftain and close associate of President Buhari while holding onto Olisa Metuh of the opposition PDP, said that the refund was not a guaranty that the suspect would not be prosecuted for receiving public funds illegally.
There has been a furore over the ‘sudden’ release of Isah from EFCC custody while other suspects duly granted bail by the courts, are still being held by the anti-graft agency.
The opposition PDP believes its key figures, who received huge cash from the office of the National Security Adviser and are being detained by the EFCC, are being persecuted notwithstanding their admission that they indeed, received the said cash for election purposes.
But in the case of Jafaru Isah, the amount of N170 million traced to him is said to have been paid by the embattled ex-NSA, Sambo Dasuki, to enable him to acquire a property in Kano State for him.
The deal, it was gathered did not go through, as a member of the Jonathan cabinet paid a higher amount of money for the same building which Isah was billed to buy for Dasuki.
Isah, who was arrested by the EFCC last week, is said to be a close friend of Dasuki and a political associate of President Buhari, although Buhari did not know about the N170 million deal with Dasuki.
The Presidency immediately distanced itself from Isah upon his arrest, making it clear that it would not interfere in his prosecution by the EFCC.
An aide of the President revealed that although Jafaru Isah was a close political ally of President Buhari, the first citizen would nonetheless remain neutral in the matter in line with his avowed position to deal decisively with corruption.
While describing Isah as a political ally, who had been with Buhari from the days of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party to the Congress for Progressive Change, the aide made it clear that the long relationship did not in any way suggest that Buhari was associated with the collection of N170 million from the Office of the National Adviser by the embattled politician.
The aide said: “It is true that Isah has been with Buhari from the days of the ANPP and CPC and was equally a member of the Transition Committee and actually headed the Defence Committee but that does not mean that Buhari knows anything about the N100 million said to have been collected by the man from the ONSA.”
Jafaru, who was a military administrator of Kaduna State from December 1993 to August 1996 during the military regime of General Sani Abacha and one-time governorship candidate of the defunct CPC in Kano State, is also described as a close friend of the embattled ex-NSA, Dasuki, who is facing multiple charges over money laundering and breach of public trust in three courts.