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Africa
Looting: EFCC Report Indicts 15 Governors
By Emmanuel Aziken, Vanguard 28/9/06
Sep 29, 2006 - 8:09:00 AM

ABUJA— AFTER months of investigation of the petitions and allegations of corruption against 31 of the state governors/governments, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, handed over to the Senate its findings which established cases of corruption against 15 of the governors. Three former governors were also indicted.

Six others are still being investigated, while there is no petition against the rest. One was cleared of the allegations against him.

Those said to have a case to answer are:Orji Kalu (Abia),Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Chris Ngige (former governor, Anambra), Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Muhammed Lawal (ex-governor, Kwara), Abubakar Audu (ex-governor, Kogi), Ahmed Makarfi (Kaduna), Adamu Abdullahi, Attahiru Bafarawa and Jolly Nyame.

During his more than two hours of testimony to the Senate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, chairman of the EFCC who claimed that the biggest fraudster ever in the world was a Nigerian said the activities of the commission in three years were now giving the country a cleaner image.

Giving a run down of the states, Ribadu said three generations of Governor Orji Kalu’s family had been found to be involved in the looting of N35 billion of Abia government funds, which, according to him, was siphoned to establish multinational companies in aviation, pharmaceuticals, shipping and publishing. He cited the governor’s mother, the governor and his daughter, brothers and personal aides in the alleged illegal siphoning of the state’s resources.

He described Zamfara State as one of the worst cases facing the commission with the governor of the state, Yerima Sani, fingered as being involved in direct stealing of state funds. He described the allegations against the governor and the counter efforts by governor Sani as a tragedy.

Ribadu said instead of showing remorse, the Zamfara governor resorted to blackmail as he quoted him as reporting to the British Parliament that he (Sani) was being pursued by the EFCC because he was set to be the next president.

He said the 15 indicted governors would soon be charged to court and that where a local government was indicted, the governor of such state was involved.

All the implicated governors with the exception of Governor Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State were alleged to have perpetrated the offences through the siphoning of their local government accounts. Governor Tinubu’s case, the EFCC boss said, was, however, of an international dimension. He said the EFCC had refused to dabble into the case of the Lagos governor.

Though Ribadu claimed that the commission was currently investigating fraud in 31 states, he singled out Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State as the only governor under investigation not to have a corruption case against him.

The appearance of the EFCC boss was upon the Senate’s summon on its investigations into allegations of corruption made against Governor Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State and officials of his administration and other states.

Welcoming him to the Senate session yesterday, the President of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani said the EFCC was instituted to fight corruption in the country and reminded him that the enabling Act required the agency to submit its report to the National Assembly every September.

“If the report of the number two citizen in our country is a public document, why should the report of state governors, councillors not be available,” Chief Nnamani said as he assured him of the Senate’s appreciation of the agency’s efforts.

In his opening remarks, Ribadu thanked the Senate for bringing the agency into existence through the passage of the EFCC Establishment Act in 2004, saying the agency had made remarkable progress in its efforts to eliminate graft.

According to him, the commission has received 4,200 petitions on alleged corruption, 1,200 cases were currently under investigation while 406 cases were in court. He claimed that the agency had through its efforts in cleansing the banks recovered over N200 billion from fraudulent bank officials.

“If you follow our sequence, you will see that we started by taking the 419 people and they were the people giving the country a bad image. Sometimes you will find them moving with escorts and we went after the kingpins and recovered well over $750 million from them. They were the people compromising the security agencies.

“It is only in Nigeria that you hear of people stealing crude oil and by today we have confiscated over 40 oil tankers. A Nigerian caused the change of the financial regulations in the whole world,” Ribadu said, adding: “The number one person who stole the most money in the world is a Nigerian. Unfortunately, there are still many others around.”

He noted the case of the Benue State Governor who, he said, physically beat up the commission’s operatives in the office of the state Commissioner of Police in his effort to recover some incriminating files from the operatives.

Following his presentation, Senator David Mark (PDP, Benue South) challenged the EFCC boss to name the governors involved as he reminded him that corruption cases against the Vice-President, Senators and a former Senate President were not shielded from public scrutiny.

“The name of the Vice-President was mentioned. If our own colleagues can be called then we urge you to name the governors and all those who have been involved including the biggest thief in the world who is a Nigerian,” Senator Mark said.

Following the submission, Chief Nnamani reminded the EFCC boss of the Senate’s resolution of Thursday, September 14, 2006 which requires him to provide reports of corruption in Enugu State and other cases involving state governors.

Following the reminder, Mallam Ribadu proceeded to give brief details of the governors involved beginning with Enugu State, where he said, acts of alleged corruption had been found against the governor and some of his aides and other officials. Ribadu claimed that the commission had a 32-page report on fraud allegedly perpetrated in Enugu State. He also accused the state administration of inflating the cost of about eight projects.

On Abia State, he said: “Abia is number one not because it is number one alphabetically but because we have one of the biggest established cases of stealing, money laundering, diversion of funds against Governor Kalu,” adding that the governor used his mother, daughter, wife and brother to divert N35 billion to build his business empire including Slok Airlines, Slok Pharmaceuticals, and a newspaper house.

On others, he said:

Adamawa: Petition received from Senator Paul Wanpana, national vice-chairman PDP and 19 Lgs were indicted for involvement in high-scale corruption. Arrangements concluded to charge governor and Commissioner for LG and Chieftaincy Affairs.

Akwa Ibom: Corruption cases established against some local government officials. Silent on Governor Victor Attah.

Anambra: Mentioned the former Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige, who was accused of inflating contracts.

Bauchi: Mu’azu is also being investigated for contract inflation.

Bayelsa: Governor’s wife involved in money laundering.

Benue: Governor physically beat up our officers in the office of the CP and forcibly took away files.

Borno: LGs and governor being investigated.

Cross River: two LGs being investigated but exonerated the governor.

Delta: Governor James Ibori and 13 local government chairmen being investigated for corruption.

Ekiti: Illegal diversion of funds, money laundering, foreign accounts operated by the governor and his deputy.

Edo: Governor being investigated for diversion of statutory allocation and 13 per cent oil revenue.

Ebonyi : Case established against some local government chairmen.

Enugu: Acts of corruption established against governor and some of his aides.

Imo: State officials accused of diverting N56 million from each of 24 local governments for an abandoned road project.

Jigawa Governor: Accused of diversion of funds and using stolen funds to sponsor pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

Kwara: Former Kwara Gov being investigated.

Kogi: Case established against some local government chairmen and the former governor who ran abroad shortly before he was to be charged to court.

Katsina: Case established against three local government chairmen.

Kano: Two petitions against two local government chairmen.

Kaduna: Case made against the governor and one local government chairmen for misappropriation of public funds. Governor accused of using his companies to execute government projects.

Lagos: Gov being investigated on an international case.

Niger:

Nasarawa: Case established against the governor and some local government chairmen.

Ondo:

Ogun: Governor under investigation.

Osun:

Oyo:

Plateau: Plateau State Assembly participated fully and directly took money from the state government.

Rivers: Three local governments and governor accused.

Sokoto: Governor and an individual accused of financial misappropriation.

Taraba: Case established against the governor and state Assembly.

Asked about corruption at the Federal level, he said the agency had shown its neutrality with the prosecution of some aides of the president even as he reiterated that no case had ever been established against the President.

An attempt by Senator Joy Emodi to know the identity of the Nigerian reputed to be the world’s biggest thief was aborted by the Senate President.

“We have investigated his ministers, his law enforcement officers. Up to this moment, no single person from the opposition has been taken to court.

“In the case of the Federal Government we have checked, the NNPC, even the security vote we have not seen one case where money could be linked from a government agency to a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

“It is impossible for us to check the account of every member of the House of Representatives. Between me and my God, I have not seen any trace,” he swore.

Commenting also on the corruption case at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), he said the EFCC was set to take the case to court.

He also said EFCC had recovered N50 billion worth of ssets from the impeached governor of Bayelsa tae, Chief Depreye Alamieyeseigha.

Fayose, Duke, Tinubu Jonathan’s wife react

Governor Donald Duke who is the only state chief executive cleared of allegations against him said last night that he had been vindicated.

His spokesman, Joseph Usiaghale told Vanguard on telephone from Calabar last night that the EFCC report that “we’ve been transparent, and honest in our handling of the finances of the state.

“Before now, there was the tendency to lump all the governors together. Nobody knew who was who. But now, we’ve been vindicated that we’ve been transparent and honest in our handling of the finances of the state. This should serve as a filip. It is encouraging. It shows that our efforts are not in vain.

Also speaking to Vanguard from Ado-Ekiti last night, the Ekiti Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gboyega Oguntuase accused Mallam Ribadu of playing to the gallery. His words: “He is confusing the process of investigation which is the function of EFCC with the process of adjudication which is the function of the court. But he cannot be a judge in his own case.

“If not for ill motive matters which ought to have been decided by courts, ought not to be commented upon by Ribadu. Moreover, there is no state earning N17 billion which its governor will convert N11 billion to his own advantage. The reality is that Ribadu is not relying on facts but merely on adversaries of government who are known to be very close to him.”

Mrs. Patience Jonathan, wife of the Bayelsa State governor in a statement e-mailed to Vanguard said she would be vindicated.

Her spokesperson, Kenneth Ekpelu said: “The first lady wishes to restate her unreserved respect for the institution of the EFCC and wishes Bayelsans and Nigerians at large to continue to support the organisation in its effort to attain a corruption-free Nigeria.

“She, however, wishes to point out the need to separate the EFCC’s honest quest for justice from the posturingof her husband’s opponents who strangely perceive her as the soft spot in his political armour and won’t stop hammering away at her until their decisions to oust him from office are met.”

Also, Mr. Dele Alake, Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, reacting yesterday, said: "It is no surprise at all that Asiwaju Tinubu’s name featured prominently in the EFCC report. What would have been news is if his name was missing from that report. Bola Tinubu has been a constant target of the Federal Government because of his persistent fight to deepen democracy, rule of law and most especially fiscal federalism."

Summary of EFCC report on govs

INDICTED

  1. Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu)
  2. Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia)
  3. Boni Haruna (Adamawa)
  4. Ayo Fayose (Ekiti)
  5. Adamu Abdullahi (Nasarawa)
  6. Jolly Nyame (Taraba)
  7. Joshua Dariye (Plateau)
  8. Sani Ahmed (Zamfara)
  9. Saminu Turaki(Jigawa)

UNDER INVESTIGATION

  1. Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi)
  2. Peter Odili (Rivers State)
  3. Ahmed Markafi (Kaduna)
  4. Lucky Igbinedion (Edo)
  5. James Ibori (Delta)
  6. Bola Tinubu (Lagos)
  7. Gbenga Daniel (Ogun)
  8. Attahiru Bafarawa (Sokoto)

CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

  1. Donald Duke (Cross Rivers)


Source: Ocnus.net 2007