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Nigerian Government Faces New Corruption Allegations


The Governor of north central Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, made the allegation early this week. He said based on orders from the party, he donated the equivalent of about 10 million U.S. dollars – money meant to improve the environment – to different groups in the People's Democratic Party (or PDP) to use during the elections. He said the President’s own campaign team was among the beneficiaries.

Top officials of the ruling PDP have quickly denied any wrongdoing, saying the money the governor gave to the president’s campaign team has since been refunded. Party spokesman John Odey, said the PDP would never engage in such an illegal act. He also criticized Mr. Dariye for using the allegation to blackmail the Nigerian government.

Analysts say the governor could reveal more details that could tarnish the party unless efforts to implicate him for financial wrong doing are dropped. He is currently fighting moves by Nigeria’s crime-fighting agency - the EFCC - to probe Plateau state's finances.

The investigation follows Mr Dariye’s arrest in London in 2004 for money laundering. He escaped from London and returned to Nigeria before he could appear in court. This has put him at loggerheads with President Obasanjo’s administration -- which promotes itself as being tough on corruption.

But analysts say the fact that state funds were given to some PDP officials to finance the last elections is a big embarrassment for the ruling party. They say it confirms the suspicion of widespread corruption in the party itself, and casts doubts on its victory at the controversial ballot.