Fraud scandal hits Edo APC campaign, N500m take-off donation from Benin billionaire embezzled



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…service providers, hired protesters are restive over unpaid allowances

… APC candidate in Abuja to beg for funds

The campaign team of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Edo State, is embroiled in a fresh N500 million fraud scandal.

A source who is conversant with happenings within the party, said trouble is brewing in the campaign team over the manner the N500 million given to the party by a prominent Benin billionaire was frittered away.

The source who pleaded not to be mentioned, said “much of the money was embezzled and vendors who made supplies as well as persons who were hired to do jobs are now restive over the delay in offsetting their bills.

“Some of the affected persons include those hired by the APC candidate to carry out a protest over a phantom N20 billion loan proposal by the state government, on Tuesday, July 14, to deflect attention away from Ize-Iyamu’s N700 million fraud trial, which came up on the same day.”

The source explained: “The campaign is facing a big challenge over the non-payment of people who have been used to do one job or the other. For example, those people that protested around the High Court on Tuesday. We have also received complaints from radio and television stations that have not been paid for the advertisements sent by the campaign team. Others are contractors who supplied branded shirts, face caps and other communication materials.

“We are worried that these complaints are coming too early because we have just kick-started our campaigns. How can you begin a serious campaign like this with scandals and stories of lack of trust?

“The man who gave us N500 million to kick-start this campaign is not happy and he is our main sponsor in this state. Some vendors and service providers have threatened to stop supplying campaign materials if they do not get their money soon.

“We have been told that our governorship candidate has travelled to Abuja to meet with the former national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole and some APC governors who pledged to support us with money. We hope and pray that they fulfill their promise so that we can sustain the tempo of our campaigns.

“We are up against a sitting governor Godwin Obaseki, who commands a cult-like following among pensioners, civil servants, business owners, the youths, market women and several other groups of people in the state and we need to raise our game to the next level if we are really serious about this election.”

The Nation newspaper reported on Friday that the APC candidate is in Abuja to meet with APC governors on how to raise funds for the Edo election, confirming what the source told this reporter.

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