•Accuses EFCC of leaking medical records
FORMER Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, on Sunday, explained how he got various sums of money from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), now the subject of investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Following media reports that he was involved in N162 million and N85 million fraud, he sought to clear the air in a statement made available to the media in Abuja, on Sunday, denying being linked to any unwholesome benefits from the NSA office.
He revealed that in his interactions so far with the anti-graft agency, he had only been requested to make clarifications in three areas.
The statement said these included: “why I received N50 million from the office of the National Security Adviser at the outset of my appointment, and what I used the money for.
“Why I was paid N10 million monthly by the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“Why I received another sum of N50 million from the NSA in October 2014.”
In his explanation of the collection, Okupe averred: “The initial N50 million was approved by the President to be paid to me from his security vote. N10 million was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10 million for my office.
“The balance of N30 million was approved as take-off grant for my office.
“The N10 million I received from the Office of the National Security Adviser 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. Details were submitted to the EFCC.
“The second N50 million was approved again by Mr President when I reported to him that the monthly allowance has been cut from N10 million to N5 million and that I was no longer in a position to keep running a one-hour NTA network programme called INSIGHT, which was aired 9-10a.m every Friday and some other days of the week.
“We paid NTA about N1.2 million monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600,000 monthly. 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 N2 million monthly. All in all, we spent about N4 million 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 a sum of N50 milion which was to cover the cost of the programme for 12 months(12×N4m= N48m).”
Expressing disgust about his media trial, he wondered why payment made to his private company for handling a state government contract had been linked to his function as a presidential aide.
According to him, “The fact, however, is that my company, Romix Soilfix, was one of the over 20 construction companies which were duly awarded contracts for rural roads some five years ago by the Niger State government.
“Due to lack of funds, contractors were paid irregularly thus making the job to drag on for long. The job is still ongoing. The relationship of this to my service as Senior Special assistant to President is still not clear.”
The former presidential aide lambasted the EFCC for leaking to the media his health status which he had revealed to the commission’s operative in confidence, in order for it to understand his special needs.
Okupe stated: “I confided in the officers of the commission about my health situation for them to understand why, where and how I sleep was important to my overall well-being.
“Without clearance or authorisation by me, this information was revealed to the media.
“I woke up to hear it on radio broadcast nationwide and was published in many newspapers. This is a sad development and a definite breach of the confidence I reposed in the commission as an institution of government.
“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’s 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.
“I have been in public service in more than 20 years. Because of my pedigree, I have by deliberate policy avoided anything that will bring shame to me and my family.
“In spite of my high level involvement in politics and government, I have never done directly or indirectly any Federal Government contracts. In the whole of this world, I have only two houses. One in Lagos and another in my home town. I have no house elsewhere including Abuja.
“It is a pity that the situation in the country is so bad that everybody believes that there are no men with honour in politics or government. It is not true. I have submitted all my personal and company accounts to the EFCC. I have nothing to hide.”