Nigerian Police Probe Obama Fundraising Dinner

Newsmax, August 21, 2008 10:57 PM

Nigeria’s anti-corruption police were questioning the head of the stock exchange after she organised a gala dinner in support of Barack Obama’s U.S. presidential campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, chairwoman of the “Africans for Obama” campaign group, organised the fundraising dinner in the commercial capital Lagos on August 11. A “platinum” ticket for a table of eight cost 2.5 million naira ($21,226).

In a letter to Nigeria’s The Punch newspaper, the Obama campaign in the United States said it was in no way affiliated with “Africans for Obama” or with the gala dinner and said it would not accept any funds from the group.

It is illegal under U.S. law for foreign campaign groups to donate funds to political parties in the United States.

“We’re trying to establish who is the beneficiary of the funds raised at the dinner,” said Femi Babafemi, spokesman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“We learned that quite some hundreds of millions of naira were raised,” he said.

Okereke-Onyiuke said in a full-page statement in Nigeria’s The Guardian newspaper on Thursday that the Aug. 11 dinner had never been intended to raise funds or solicit donations for the Obama campaign.

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[Okereke-Onyiuke] said any surplus funds from the event would be used for advertisements encouraging Africans eligible to do so to vote.

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