April 17, 2024

EFCC Goes After Fayose, Kwankwaso, Other Former Govs, Ministers

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By Reporter

According to reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reopened its investigation into money laundering cases against 13 former governors and several ex-ministers, with the total amount surpassing N853.8 billion.

This position was disclosed last Friday January 12, 2024, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, was reviewing all the high-profile cases and had since his assumption of office reappointed investigators to take up the several probes without prejudice to the suspects’ social or political status.

“The chairman is reviewing all high-profile cases, and he has ordered the investigators not to treat anyone differently, especially politically exposed persons, such as former governors and ministers, who were indicted for money laundering,” a reliable source said.

The reopening of these cases marks a significant moment in Nigeria’s ongoing efforts to tackle corruption at the highest levels of government and public service. The outcomes of these investigations are awaited with keen interest by the public and are expected to have substantial implications for governance and the rule of law in the country.

Presently, the EFCC is also probing the case of alleged N81.6 billion fraud within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation headed by suspended Minister Betta Edu.

The old fraud that has been reopened by EFCC involve a staggering $2.2 billion that was misappropriated through money laundering and fund diversion, in the defense sector.

This sum was allegedly defrauded by individuals including former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki; late media mogul Raymond Dokpesi; former Sokoto State governor Attahiru Bafarawa; and ex-Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, among others.

The funds were intended for arms procurement to combat terrorism.

Those fingered in the fraud cases, include ex-governors Kayode Fayemi and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State; Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State; Chimaroke Nnamani and Sullivan Chime of Enugu State; Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa State; Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State; Peter Odili of Rivers State; Theodore Orji of Abia State; Danjuma Goje of Gombe State; Aliyu Wamako of Sokoto State; Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State; and Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.

Matawalle, who is currently serving as the Minister of Defence in the administration of President Bola Tinubu, is being probed for alleged N70bn money laundering; while Fayemi, who served as Minister of Solid Minerals Development in former President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet from November 11, 2015 to May 30, 2018, before resigning to contest the governorship election for his second term, is being investigated for an alleged N4bn fraud, meanwhile Fayose, a two-term governor of Ekiti State, is being investigated by the anti-graft agency for an alleged N6.9bn fraud.

Nnamani is being probed for an alleged N5.3bn fraud; Chime is being investigated over an alleged N450m campaign fraud as part of the N23bn allegedly shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, while Adamu is under probe for alleged N15bn fraud.

Kwakwanso is being probed for alleged non-remittance of N10bn pension fund; Orji is being investigated over alleged N551bn money laundering; while Odili is similarly being probed for alleged N100bn fraud.

It is not yet clear how the probe of the ex-Rivers State governor will be handled as he obtained an order of perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC and other security agencies from a Federal High Court in March 2008, which has not been vacated to date.

Goje is being probed by the commission for an alleged N5bn fraud; Wammako is being investigated for allegedly diverting N15bn; Sylva, a former Minister of State for Petroleum under Buhari, is under probe for alleged N19.2bn money laundering; while Lamido is being investigated over an alleged N1.35bn fraud.

Diezani is being probed over several alleged money laundering cases running into several billions of naira and millions of dollars.

The EFCC had also recently commenced the probe of some former ministers, Olu Agunloye (power, mines and steel), Olu Agunloye, over an alleged $6bn fraud on the Mambilla Power Project; and Sadiya Umar-Farouk (humanitarian affairs), over an alleged N37.1bn fraud.

Agunloye and Umar-Farouq served under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari, respectively. The EFCC is probing both former ministers and arraigned Agunloye, who was remanded in a custodial center pending the perfection of his N50m bail.

The commission is also probing the suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, and the embattled Coordinator of the suspended National Social Investment Programme Agency, Halima Shehu, over alleged N81.6bn fraud uncovered in the ministry.

Others being probed by EFCC are some chief executive officers of several banks, civil servants, and contractors in connection with the humongous fraud uncovered in the ministry.

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Olukoyede had last Friday declared that all high-profile cases would be reviewed and revisited while noting that indicted former or incumbent public officials’ corruption cases would not be overlooked or abandoned by the commission.

He made the declaration in Abuja through the acting Director of Public Affairs, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who spoke to journalists following a protest by members of the Zamfara Alternative Forum at the commission’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja.

Members of the group had urged the anti-graft agency to revisit the probe of the immediate past governor of the state, Matawalle, over alleged N70bn money laundering.

Responding to the request of the protesters, Uwujaren revealed that Olukoyede had reviewed all inherited high-profile cases since he assumed office, adding that the commission would proceed with the probe of every indicted high-profile person.

He said, “I want to assure you that, as far as the commission is concerned, nobody is above the law. What the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, has done since assuming office is that he has reviewed all the high-profile cases he inherited.

“And the EFCC Chairman has asked me to assure you that this case, like others, will not be an exception. The case will be reviewed, and the chairman assures you that something will be done under the law, and no one is above the law and no case shall be swept under the carpet.

“Rest assured that these cases will be revisited because the EFCC believes that no case should be swept under the carpet. If you have done something wrong and if our investigation can establish that you have a case, we will proceed with the matter.”

On May 18, 2023, the EFCC, through its spokesman, Osita Nwajah, had said Matawalle was being investigated by the commission over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts, and diversion of over N70bn.

He stated, “The money, which was sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the governor through proxies and contractors, who received payment for contracts that were not executed.

“The commission’s investigations revealed that more than 100 companies received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state.

Some of the contractors, who had been invited and quizzed by the commission, made startling revelations on how they were allegedly compelled by the governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him through  dollars.

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