Yari in the Eye of the Storm

Things are not looking good for former Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari. The new decade appears to have begun with the name of the 52-year-old on a summoning bowl, even as allegations of money laundering are piling up against him.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on January 26, 2021, approved a move to separate Yari from funds that are suspected to have resulted from some kind of laundering and financial misconduct. Thus, Yari’s accounts with Zenith and Polaris banks will no longer be accessible to him, joining the grave of resources seized from similar episodes of the alleged theft.

According to reports, Yari’s current situation follows from a suit filed against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The anti-graft agency suspects Yari of obtaining the $669,248 (about ₦255 million) through fraudulent means. The funds in question are currently slashed across Zenith and Polaris bank accounts, allegedly under Yari’s name and those of his companies.

The struggle between the ICPC and the former governor began sometime in 2019, with the ICPC asking Yari to provide reasons why the federal government shouldn’t seize the fund. ICPC reportedly insisted that Yari had used his companies — Kayatawa Nigeria Ltd. and B. T. Oil & Gas Nigeria Ltd. — to siphon funds from the Zamfara State treasury.

Probably based on the rationale presented by the ICPC, the court allowed for a temporary forfeiture of the funds in Yari’s possession, also inviting him to defend his case.

Against the ICPC’s move, Yari stated that there hadn’t been a fair hearing; that he was wealthy long before becoming a governor. The court countered with the fact that his company’s bank accounts had grown from zero to $301,319 (about 155 million) at the end of his tenure. Besides, 350 million had been transferred to Yari by a top official of the state—what about that?
All in all, the ordered forfeiture of Abdulaziz Yari’s Zenith and Polaris bank accounts might be the first move in a series.

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