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Anti-graft police probe Nigerian Obama fundraiser

Anti-graft police probe Nigerian Obama fundraiser

Police questioned the head of the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Thursday in connection with a glitzy fundraiser meant to drum up African support for U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman Femi Babafemi said investigators were interviewing Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, a prominent businesswoman and head of the bourse, over an Aug. 11 gala in the commercial capital of Lagos.
Babafemi said officials were checking if the funds raised by the group, "Africans for Obama '08," were to be sent to the Obama campaign in violation of U.S. electoral regulations. U.S. election laws forbid foreign donations to electoral campaigns.
Okereke-Onyiuke was not available for comment. Full-page advertisements published in Nigerian newspapers under her name Thursday said she acted as a private citizen, and did not plan on violating the electoral rules of any country.
An Associated Press reporter at the event heard several speakers publicly address about 400 guests who paid thousands of dollars per head to attend the fundraiser, stressing that proceeds would not be sent to the Obama campaign since that was not legal.
The speakers, including Okereke-Onyiuke, said the funds would be used to boost African support for Obama, whose father is from Kenya. The hope was that naturalized African U.S. citizens able to vote would hear of support for Obama from family and friends back home.
The group said it had no link with the campaign of the Illinois senator, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Another top organizer of "Africans for Obama '08," Erieka Bennett, told The Associated Press Thursday that it was not known how much money had been raised at the event, since some party vendors still had yet to be paid. She said that whatever was left over would be used for advertisements in African media, although no spots had yet been purchased.


Updated : 2021-05-18 20:21 GMT+08:00