EFCC: Ambode And Yari In Trouble

By Elvis Chukwunonso

Akinwumi Ambode and Abdulaziz Yari, both former governors of Lagos   and Zamfara  states  respectively, appear to have fallen into the waiting hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over alleged Corruption. The case of Yari, may have become more worrisome because he was also a former President of the Nigerian governor’s Forum, NGF. who ensures that that the governor’s position on policy issues were adhered to by the by President Muhammadu Buhari in the last four years. 

 Indeed, the problem of Ambode  was  said to have started when Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of the state and National leader of the All Progressive Congress,  APC, lost Confidence in him and ensured that that he did not get a second term  over alleged disloyalty.

 This may have opened the door for the former governor’s supporters to declare open war on  him. The Lawmakers were not left out as they made repeated threats to impeach him, forcing the APC godfather and some prominent traditional rulers in the state  to intervene to save him. They may have sent a signal to him to him that all is not well as they allowed him to prepare the 2019 Budget of the state which was approved by the House but  passed  to his Babatude Samwo-Olu, his successor to implement. This is because of the report making the rounds that he   opened scheduled accounts  in some banks  managed  by a crony for him.

 The Lawmakers may have  subjected him to such a treatment to avoid giving him any  opportunity to deep his hand in the state funds to finance the alleged scheduled accounts.   The Tinubu loyalties were said to have petitioned  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, under an acting Chairman,  Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police to investigate the alleged scheduled accounts linked him in the state. The petitioners were said to have attached all the necessary documents to their petitition justify their claim in order to rope him in. the Commission may have kept the petition a closely guided secret to avoid giving him room escape as soon he steps down from office  on May 29, 2019.

Ambode: Ex-Lagos State Governor, Forfeits N9.93 billion To EFCC

 Note that the former Lagos state governor had traveled   to France  for a short holiday  after the hand over exercise was completed. He was said to returned back to the country when information filtered out to him  from Presidency source that his name was among the ministerial nominees and that he likely be the Minister to oversee the Ministry of National Planning. This may  have  prompted him to return as he was said to have quickly headed to the Presidential Villa where he was said to have held a closed door meeting the President.

Unknown to him, the EFCC, had already which had beamed its searchlight on  his four years in office to examine how he spent the state  internally generated revenue, IGR and the allocations from the Federal government was spent had prepared a case of Corrupt Charges against him. On parking out of the Government to pave way for his successor to park in, he was optimistic that the anti-graft agency officials would never go after him because he has no skeleton on hi cupboard.  He believes that he has enough  on ground to speak for him. He got it wrong as his perceived detractors had armed the anti-graft agency  with the  relevant documents on how he diverted the finances of the state to  his personal account in various   Commercial Banks to nail him.

Insides told The Value News that acting on the Petitions against the former  Lagos state governor,  the Commission had dragged him to a Federal High  Court, Lagos,  in order  to obtain an injunction to freeze the former governors  scheduled  accounts in  Zenith,  Access and First City Monument Banks funded by diversion of funds from the state accounts to the tune of N9.93 billion  described in political circles as a major scandal.

In giving the Order on Thursday, August 1, 2019, to EFCC, to freeze the former Lagos state governor’s scheduled  accounts discovered in the Banks  based on the  superior argument of the EFCC, legal team   that   the  former governor had made the fraudulent transfer to the private  Accounts  from the  the Accounts of the state government.   The Commission had  argued that he had  dissipated  the funds warehoused in  the said Accounts, thus giving   Justice Chuka Obiozor, of the Federal High Court in Lagos  to give  the go ahead to the Commission to freeze the fraudent Accounts.

Kungami Daniel, an official of the agency in a sworn affidavit deposed at the Court had confirmed that   there was  a ‘’huge inflow  of N9.93 billion  from the state operated Accounts   into the former governor’s  FCMB, account  that was said to have been opened on September 17, 2018. The account was said to have been operated or him by one   Adewale Adesanya,a  Permanent  Secretary  in the office of the Chief of Staff   .  

Mohammed Abbas , the EFCC Lawyer, who was on top of the case   had argued  that the trend in the FCMB  Account, alone,  is that it always witnessed huge inflow  from the state funds  into the scheduled Accounts  managed by Adesanya, regarded in  political circles as Ambode’s crony.

 Given an insider information, the Lawyer  had told the Court that  the  diverted state funds were variously  domiciled  in FCMB  Account No.  5617984012, Access  Bank Account Number, 0060949275 and Zenith Account Number 1011691254. Many believe that there is no way  the Commission could have  succeed  in getting the Bank details without a mole  working in the g former governor’s office  and feeding his detractors with the information  about the  accounts.

This may have informed why the trial Judge   was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen  that ‘’without  freezing  the nominated accounts  and forcing the former governor to temporarily forfeit the accounts  to the  government of the Federation , ‘’there is no way  the fraud  being perpetrated by government officials   using such scheduled accounts   can be stopped’’. 

While Ambode  , the former Lagos state governor is battling to free  himself from the hands of the EFCC in Court, Yari, his counterpart in Zamfara state and former President, NGF, may not be finding it funny as his house was said to have been raided over alleged reports that some of the state government property and valuable documents are still in his custody. last Sunday.

Recall that Bello Mattawalle,  the People’s Democratic  Party, PDP, Court anointed governor of the  state had  been at dagger-drawn  with him over his poor management of the revenue of the state both , IGR and federal allocations in the last eight years.

 Mattawale, had set  up a probe Committee, which  had indicted the former governor  over inflation of Contracts and diversion of public funds. The  governor had stopped short at describing  the Yari eight years Administration in the state  as a waste as there is nothing on ground to show for it to justify the huge account  spent by the Administration in the last eight years.

The governor who could not hide his feelings about the mismanagement of the resources of the state by the Yari Administration  had called  on the EFCC, to step in , to recover the stolen funds and property  of the state from the former governor and political appointees. The Commission may have heeded  to the call, coupled with the several petitions  including the report of the probe panel standing on his neck which  had somewhat exposed some of his alleged atrocities in the state.

With the alleged successful handling of the cases  of former governors Ambode  and Yari, there are clear  indications that other i past governors also may be arraigned in  Court by the Commission to answer to the petitions written against them  over alleged Corruption  during their tenure in their respective states.

 The name that readily comes to mind is ,  Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of the state and a Court anointed  Senator of Federal Republic of Nigerian, as Emeka Ikedioha, a former Deputy Speaker , House of Representatives, and now governor of the state , has documentary  evidence , that should force  the Commission to invite him for questioning and subsequent arraignment in Court to answer to the allegations that had been made against him .

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