Former presidential aide Dr. Doyin Okupe, yesterday admitted collecting more than N100million from the Office of National Security Adviser(ONSA) when Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) was in charge.
The former Senior Special Assitant (Media and Publicity) to former President Goodluck Jonathan said part of the cash was a N10milion vote to furnish his rented apartment.
The ex-President approved the release of the funds from his security vote, Okupe said.
He also faulted the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for making his heart-related challenge, called sinus bradycadia, public.
Okupe and his companies are under probe for allegedly receiving N162million illicit payments to him and his companies by Dasuki and Chanchaga Local Government Area in Niger State.
In a reaction to his intermittent grilling by the EFCC, Okupe, who opened up on his Facebook page, said he used the funds allocated to him to run his office between 2012 and 2015.
He was hired in 2012 by Jonathan for propaganda purpose against the opposition, which was critical of the past administration.
Giving the details of how he collected money from the ex-NSA, he also confessed that his company secured contract from Chanchaga Local Government Area in Niger State.
He said: “The initial N50m was approved by the President to be paid to me from his security vote. N10m was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10m for my office. The balance N30m was approved as take-off grant.
“The N10m I received from the ONSA monthly was to run my office, pay salaries of staff, including overheads, pay expenses for our numerous press conferences, pay for publications in newspapers, magazines, local and foreign, television programmes, bulletins, and media consultants who assist and facilitate our work. I had about 23 staff, 11 were graduates out of which five were masters degrees holders.
“ The second N50m was approved again by Mr. President when I reported to him that the monthly allowance had been cut from N10m to N5m and that I was no longer in position to keep running a one hour NTA network programme called INSIGHT which was aired 9-10am every Friday.
“We paid NTA about N1.2m monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600, 000 monthly.
The lead presenter on Insight earned N400,000 and the second presenter earned N200,000. We paid for tapes and editing per programme. Besides, we also pay honorarium for guests either directly or in form of hotel bills for those outside Abuja or transportation.
“This cost averagely N500,000 weekly or about N2m monthly. All in all, we spend about N4m monthly on the programme. Mr. President promised to help with the expenses. About a few months later when we had incurred some debts the NSA sent me this N50m which was to cover the cost of the program for 12 months.
“I am not a thief. I have only two houses in Lagos and in my hometown. The monthly allowance was not my salary. It was meant to be used to run the office. 40% went on salaries. Salary sheets with names and offices of employees were submitted to EFCC.
I was paid a salary of N853,000 per month through the office of the SGF.”
On the N76.5m contracts awarded to his firm, Romix Soilfix, by Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger State, Okupe said the firm was “one of the over 20 construction companies who were duly awarded contracts for rural roads some five years ago by the Niger State Government”.
He said the jobs were delayed because of irregular payment to contractors by the council.
Okupe added: “The job is still ongoing. The relationship of this to my service as senior special assistant to President is still not clear.”
Okupe faulted the EFCC for allegedly making his heart-related challenge, called sinus bradycadia, public.
He said: “I was born with sinus bradycadia, a non-disease based slowness of the heart. It precluded me from vigorous exercise from childhood but I have, by God’s grace, been able to live a normal and active life.
“With age, the slowness grew worse and life threatening. I sought medical help and went through a procedure at the Arrhythmia Cardiac Research Centre in Atlanta, where this defect was corrected. It was just a year ago and I am still under satellite monitor from the USA. This is what I revealed to the EFCC and they made it a public issue.” The Nation