A Senate inquiry recommended that Mr Abubakar should be prosecuted for siphoning off money to companies he was connected to.
The Senate launched the investigation last year after the president, Olusegun Obasanjo, forwarded charges made by Nigeria’s anti-corruptions body against Mr Abubakar – a one-time political ally.
In a report presented to the full Senate yesterday, the investigating panel said it agreed with the findings that Mr Abubakar helped divert $145m from Nigeria government accounts to banks.
Some of the money was then “fraudulently converted as loans” for three companies connected to the vice-president.
The report called for Mr Abubakar’s prosecution, from which he is protected while in office. However, a Senate impeachment would strip him of his protection and disqualify him from April’s presidential elections. He could also then face criminal charges.
Mr Abubakar’s campaign strongly rejected the findings, saying “the legislative body should not allow its name to be dragged into the mud by a few members who may be pursuing their own hidden agenda”.
It said in a statement that his actions were proper, with the money originating in a fund specifically designed for investments in the private sector.
The campaign said a senior government accountant had ruled that the banks were investment grade and that Mr Abubakar had delivered double-digit returns on the government’s money.
“We therefore call on the entire Senate to look at the report of the committee objectively and reject it if found to be shoddy, as a way of redeeming the image of the upper legislative chamber,” it said.
The Senate president, Ken Nnamani, said the report would be debated by politicians later today.
Mr Abubakar fell out with Mr Obasanjo last year after helping stop an attempt by the president’s supporters to amend Nigeria’s constitution and allow him another term.
In the past, Mr Abubakar has dismissed the allegations as part of a plot to keep him from running for Nigeria’s top post. His office could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Senate upheld the anti-corruption group’s findings that $6m of the diverted funds allegedly went to iGate, a Kentucky-based communications firm that tried to do business in Nigeria in 2004.
William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, has been under investigation in the US since March 2005 for allegedly using his position to help iGate – which sought contracts with Nigeria and other African nations – and taking bribes in return. The FBI said it found $90,000 stashed in a freezer in his home.
Oil-rich Nigeria is regularly ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world by the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International.
April elections, which would allow for Nigeria’s first-ever transfer of power from one elected leader to another, are meant to cement civilian rule in the country, which has been vulnerable to coups.