The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) will on Thursday next week arraign a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdullahi Dikko, and two others for allegedly stealing more than N1 billion.
To that effect, suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/21/2019-FRN v Abdullahi Inde Dikko & Ors, is billed to come up before Justice Lucia Ojukwu of Court 7, Abuja Federal High Court.
A former Assistant Comptroller-General of the agency in charge of Finance, Administration and Technical Services, Garba Makarfi, and Umar Hussaini, a lawyer and owner of Capital Law Office, are also listed as defendants in the suit.
According to the charge sheet, they are accused of inducing the Managing Director of Cambial Limited, Yemi Obadeyi, to pay N1.1 billion (N1,100, 952,380.96) into the account of Capital Law Office as a refundable “completion security deposit” for the purchase of 120 units of duplexes as residential accommodation for officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.
The ICPC accuses Dikko and Makarfi of using the bank account of Hussaini’s firm to illegally receive the money. The anti-graft agency further alleged that Hussaini within the same period between April 6 and December 2010 shared the money into various accounts.
Makarfi was accused of receiving $3 million between April and December 2010, apparently as part of the proceeds of corruption.
ICPC’s legal officer, Ephraim Otti, in his affidavit sworn to on January 25, 2019 at the Federal High Court in Abuja, said the defendants were investigated for alleged violation of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000; Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006, and Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).
According to Otti, evidence from the investigation established a prima facie case against the accused.
Dikko, who was the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service between August 2009 and August 2015, has faced several allegations of fraudulently enriching himself and certificate forgery.
In 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized 17 exotic vehicles from Dikko, after Justice S. M. Shuaibu of the Federal High Court in Kaduna gave an interim order for their forfeiture to the federal government.
Less than a week after the forfeiture order, EFCC recovered dozens of brand new tricycles and motorcycles from a warehouse allegedly belonging to Dikko.
“Operatives of the commission’s Kaduna Zonal office acting on intelligence stormed the facility on February 28 and executed a search warrant which led to the recovery of the following items,” the EFCC said at that time.
The commission listed the recovered items to include: 42 brand new customised yellow-coloured tricycles; 16 brand new cargo motorcycles; one brand new white 32-seater Nissan civilian bus; one MAN diesel truck; 515 brand new imported rugs of different colours and sizes; two metal bulletproof safe with N1.565 billion and documents of transactions in different currencies within and outside the country.
In a similar development, the Nigeria Customs Service under Dikko was accused of paying N12 million into the account of a company belonging to an embattled Federal High Court judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia.
The fifth prosecution witness for the EFCC in a matter filed against Ofili-Ajumogobia, Omale Ujah, had narrated to a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja how he was instructed sometimes in 2014 to pay N12million into the account of a company, Nigel and Colive Limited, belonging to the judge.
Ujah, an Assistant Controller of Customs, told the court that the N12million payment was at the instruction of one Musa Tahir, who was the Deputy Controller-General of Customs.
“In the course of my duty in 2014, the Deputy Controller-General that I was working with, Musa Tahir, came down from the office of the Comptroller-General of Customs and gave me the account number of Nigel and Colive limited, saying that the CGC said we should liaise with 12 commands and they should pay N1m each to my account, and I should transfer the whole sum to Nigel and Colive Limited.
“And that instruction was carried out,” Ujah said.
He said he paid the money in three tranches of N4 million, N3million and N5million.
He added that he was not aware of any services rendered by the beneficiary company to the Nigeria Customs Service.
Meanwhile, the federal government had included Dikko’s name in the list of looters released last year by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Muhammed.
The ICPC told the court that Dikko is currently on the run.