The All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu says he cannot refund N700m to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, because he never stole the money he was accused of diverting.
Ize-Iyamu was the Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate in 2016. He said this during an interview on Arise TV on Sunday.
The governorship candidate is currently standing trial. This is for allegedly receiving N700m for campaigns during the build-up to the 2015 general elections. The EFCC alleged that the money came from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
However, Ize-Iyamu said he only ensured the release of the funds, but he never touched it.
The APC candidate said:
“The EFCC case against me for N700m, I have made it very clear that the so-called money was never paid into my account. It was never given to me. All I did was that they wanted somebody to verify that the money for campaign came. And I, along with two others, went to the bank and confirmed it.
“From the bank, the money was taken not to my house, but to the house of the leader of the party. And when they got there, the money was distributed to the 18 local government chairmen of the party and they all signed for it. Not one kobo was given to me. These are facts available to the court; these are facts available to the EFCC.
“The EFCC’s own is that we ought to refund the money and I said how can I refund what I did not collect? If I took the money, I may say yes, I will refund it; but I didn’t take it, not a kobo did I take. So, my conscience is clear and my credibility is intact.”
More so, Ize-Iyamu lay an allegation against incumbent Governor Obaseki. He said the governorship election of 2016 was manipulated in favour of Governor Godwin Obaseki. Governor Obaseki was the APC candidate at the time.