Says investigation of Gombe govt house accountant ongoing
Segun Awofadeji in Gombe and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in North-west zone in Kano has recovered N328.9billion from alleged fraudulent petroleum transactions in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) between July 2016 to July 2017.
The Head of Operations of the commission, Dr. Adamu Hamisu Danmusa, told journalists on TuesdayÂ that the money was recovered from 11 major petroleum marketers.
Danmusa said a petition filed by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) through a legal practitioner, complained that some major marketers in connivance with NNPC were poised to sabotage the economy through the supply of petroleum products to the major marketers, whose debts were in turn declared as legacy debt.
The petitioners further alleged that the major oil marketers were indebted to the petroleum corporation, citing huge amount being diverted, prompting the anti-graft agency to move into actions.
According to him, EFCC operatives attached to the commission launched investigations into the transactions involving NNPC and the 11suspected major petroleum marketers across the country, culminating into the recovery of the fund designated to be bad/ current transaction.
He also disclosed that from January 2017 till date, 31 cases were dragged to court, the commission won 24.
The agency alleged that on July 25, a Chinese national nameed Ma Yongin, was accosted at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano by EFCC operatives for allegedly being in possession of N305,000,00 in N500 denominations in wrapped bundles in an attempt to ferry the exhibit to Dubai.
He said the suspect was arrested based tip-off from officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service at the airport.
Dan Musa disclosed that the suspect, during interrogation said he planned to use the N500 denomination to produce a naira album.
According to him, the suspect has made useful confessional statement that would help in unraveling the mystery surrounding the matter, adding that investigation into the matter was ongoing.
He disclosed that one Yasir Salihu Abdullahi was also in EFCC custody for being in possession of 849 ATM cards, issued by commercial banks.
He said the suspect was arrested on July 29, and when questioned and claimed that he was conveying the cards to their various owners who were residing in Dubai.
The head of operation also restated that 17 cars had been recovered from the former Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Dikko Inde, while Â£74,000 pounds and $9,772,800 recovered from the former NNPC boss Mr. Andrew Yaku.
Meanwhile the Head of Operations of EFCC in the North-east zone, Aminu Ado Aliyu, has said the commission is still investigating cases of economic and financial crimes involving indicted politicians.
Aliyu stated this yesterday shortly after briefing journalists on the achievements of the commissionâ€™s zonal office in the last seven months.
He stated that about 191 suspects were arrested over various petitions received.
According to him, â€œIn the course of investigation of these cases, we have also recovered the sum of N79,074,743.53 in draft and cash of N31,745,280 summing up to N110, 820,023.53 from cases under investigation.â€
He said the cases were under investigation and some of the investigations would soon be completed after which the press would be briefed.
He added that for now, the commission does not want to rush to the press and at the end, the indicted persons are not guilty.
Concerning the investigations started last year, the Head of Operations explained that the investigation was on and very soon, it would get to the politicians.
â€œIf you observed, we have been inviting some of the various security heads that were on ground during the elections,â€ Aliyu stated.
The zonal office had sometimes last year said it detained the Accountant of the Government House Gombe, Mr. Mohammed Balbaya, over N388 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 of the commissionâ€™s zonal office in a press statement made available to journalists last year, Balbaya was interrogated over his role in the N338million campaign fund sent to the state.
He said Balbaya told 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 Dankwamboâ€™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 process.
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.