Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 16:36 UK

Obasanjo family face 'witch hunt'

Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (Picture from the Ogun State website:
Sen. Obasanjo-Bello says she has done nothing wrong

The daughter of Nigeria's former leader has told the BBC she is the victim of a "witch hunt" led by the country's anti-corruption police.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello says she is being persecuted for being related to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo.

She has been accused by the EFCC of receiving money taken from the health ministry budget.

Two health ministers have been charged with fraud, but Mrs Obasanjo Bello has refused to be interviewed by the EFCC.

Obasanjo timeline
May 2007: President Obasanjo stands down
Feb 2008: Election tribunal upholds President Yar'Adua's election
March 2008: Obasanjo's government accused of funnelling $50m to fake companies by probe into electricity generation
Daughter Iyabo Obasanjo Bello accused of receiving $85,000 from health ministry
April 2008: Son in law Kenny Martins questioned over $42million missing from Police Equipment Fund
Former Obasanjo minister Nasir el-Rufai accused of giving 15 plots of land worth millions of dollars to Obasanjo and allies
National assembly launch a probe into the oil and gas business under President Obasanjo

The accusations concern money left in the health budget at the end of last year.

President Umar Yar'Adua had instructed all ministries to return unspent money to the central bank.

But the former health minister Adenike Grange and her minister of state Gabriel Aduku are accused of writing checks for fake contracts and handing out the money.

"Legitimate grant"

The EFCC say they gave 10 million Naira ($85,000) to the Senate committee on health, led by Sen. Obasanjo Bello.

Her lawyers say the money was a legitimate grant, spent on an "official visit" to Ghana.

"They are making up scandal," she told the BBC's Network Africa programme "It is because I am Obasanjo's daughter and they want to make me look bad in the public eye."

She alleged the local press had been paid to write biased stories against her.

She said she had brought development to the people in her Ogun state constituency and they would support her.

"Let them prove it. I don't own anything more than someone of my educational level," she said.


Mr Obasanjo, his family and associates have been the focus of several accusations since he left office.

His son in law Kenny Martins, the chairman of the Police Equipment Fund, has been interrogated by the EFCC about alleged fraud in his organisation.

Nasir el-Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory has been accused of seizing plots of land in the capital and giving them to Mr Obasanjo.

The former president himself has been implicated by a probe into the power sector that concluded his administration funnelled millions of dollars into fake companies.

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