One of Nigeria’s top financial institutions, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), allegedly sponsored the 2015 presidential campaign of Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo with at least N200 million.
The transaction which was exposed in suspicious bank transactions records is in violation of federal campaign finance regulations. According to the records seen by Peoples Gazette, GTBank’s Investment One fund management department paid N200 million in three instalments of N100 million, N50 million and N50 million to the Osinbajo’s campaign account ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
Globaltimesng reports that these transactions go against federal campaign finance law that prohibits the donation of more than N1 million to a candidate in a presidential race. Despite its illegality, more documents revealed that the Managing Partner at Osinbajo’s law firm SimmonsCooper Partners, Dapo Akinosun also deposited N50 million naira in two payments of N25 million into the same campaign account for the vice president in 2015.
Two other lawyers who also paid money into Osinbajo’s campaign account were Olufemi Atoyebi, the Principal Partner at Femi Atoyebi and Co, and Temitope Lawani, the co-founder and Managing Partner at Helios Investment Partners. It was gathered that the duo paid N10 million each, well above the allowable limit of N1 million.
Admitting the transactions, Investment One’s CEO Ademola Aofoloju insisted they were not inappropriate. He said: “Any transactions we carry out for our clients are privileged and confidential.” Asked why the transaction did not show in the firm’s financial report against regulatory standards, Aofolaju described the matter as “classified.”
Also responding to Peoples Gazette, GTBank CEO, Segun Agbaje said the financial institution had since 2011 divested its interest in Investment One. He however refused to state whether or not the divestment was concluded as of 2015 when the illegal transactions were carried out.
Two former GTBank officials revealed that the company had not concluded its divestment from Investment One as of the time of the donations to Osinbajo’s campaign. The transactions were a direct violation of the Nigerian Electoral Act 2010 which states in section 91(9) that “No individual or other entity shall donate more than N1,000,000.00 to any candidate.”
Subsection 11 said: “Any individual who knowingly acts in contravention of subsection (9) shall on conviction be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 9 months or both.”