Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
The Gombe Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it has detained the Accountant of Gombe State Government House, Mr. Mohammed Balbaya, over N338 million 2015 election campaign funds for the state which was intended to compromise the results in favour of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the Head of Public Affairs Department of the commission’s zonal office in Gombe, Gbenga Aroyewun, ‘‘Mr. Mohammed Balbaya, was interrogated yesterday over his role in the N338million campaign fund sent to the state.”
He said Balbaya told the investigators that he collected the sum in cash from an official of Fidelity Bank in the state based on the directive of Senator Saidu Umar Kumo, the Director-General of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo’s re-election campaign organisation during the 2015 election.
According to the investigation, Balbaya said he contacted the Permanent Secretary and Principal Private Secretary to the governor of the state, Dr. Sani Jauro, who directed him to share the money to the beneficiaries. He however denied deriving personal benefit from the funds.
He said though Balbaya did not disclose who the beneficiaries of the money were and the amount each individual or group collected from him, he however gave the EFCC useful information.
Meanwhile, Senator Saidu Umar Kumo and the state’s former PDP Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Paloma, through bank drafts, refunded N2 million each which they claimed to be their personal benefits from the fund.
The said amount came from the sum of N111 million both of them signed and collected from Fidelity Bank for the state, but Kumo could not account for the balance of N106million.