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.
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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