The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has confirmed the payment of money to some members of its National Working Committee (NWC).
The party, however, said it was not a bribe to the members.
This was made known in a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Thursday.
The statement is in reaction to the refund of over N120 million by four members of the NWC.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the members in a letter to the national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, returned different sums ranging from N28 million to N36 million. They said it became necessary to return the money after a backlash from the media accusing them of taking bribes.
The NWC members who returned the money are the National Vice Chairman (South-West) Olasoji Adagunodo, the Deputy National Chairman (South) Taofeek Arapaja; the National Vice Chairman (South), Dan Orbih, and the National Women Leader, Stella Affah-Attoe.
Mr Ologunagba described the bribery allegations as strange and unfounded motives.
The money, he said, was housing allowance duly approved and paid to NWC members and staff of the party.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP states in an unequivocal term that no funds were paid into the account of any member of the NWC as a bribe for any purpose whatsoever for that matter,” he said. “The Housing Allowance being referred to went through the due process of the party – in line with the Conditions of Service and entitlement of the staff and principal officers of the party,” he said.
He said if any member decides to return money duly approved and paid for any reason, such does not in any way suggest that the money was paid as a bribe or indicate that it was illegitimate or unlawfully paid.
Mr Ologunagba defined a bribe as money or any other valuable consideration given or promised with a view to corrupting the behaviour of a person, especially in that person’s performance as a public official.
“This is not the case in the payment of Housing Allowance duly approved for officials and staff of the party,” he stated.
The party, therefore, urged all members, supporters and the public to disregard the report and misleading insinuation which, he said, are designed to malign the PDP, cause disaffection and distract the party.
Already, the letters which are now being circulated on social media, have triggered outrage with many now asking Mr Ayu to resign.
This episodes come about a week after the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, accused the national chairman of bribing some members of the NWC.