The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has set up probe teams as it gets ready to swoop on some governors accused of corruption ahead of the May 29 handover date, when their immunty ends.
Those in trouble include governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, sources told the Punch.
Mr. Okorocha is accused, among other things, of diverting over N1bn meant for the campaign of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, who contested for Imo State governorship on the platform of the Action Alliance.
The EFCC had said in an interim report said it had arrested the Accountant-General of Imo State, Uzoho Casmir, for allegedly helping Okorocha to launder N1.05bn for the governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
In Zamfara State, the EFCC is investigating Yari for alleged diversion of funds running into billions of naira.
Recall that a Federal High Court in Abuja had, in 2017, ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of N500m and $500,000 said to have been looted from the Paris Club refunds made by the Federal Government in favour of the 36 states of the federation.
The sums of money, said to have been recovered from two firms, First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited, and Gosh Projects Limited, were allegedly linked to Yari.
The EFCC alleged that the sums of money were fraudulently diverted from the NGF’s bank account on the instruction of Yari. According to the commission, about N500m from the money was diverted to offset Yari’s personal loan obtained from the First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited.
Ahmed of Kwara State will also be probed for diverting state funds.
The EFCC had earlier this month arrested six commissioners and government officials in Kwara State for allegedly diverting N1bn a week before the National Assembly and presidential elections.
Amosun will also come under probe by the commission, following a petition written by a group, Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate, over an alleged misappropriation of N4bn Anchor Borrowers’ Fund meant for Ogun farmers.
The group, in the petition dated February 20, 2019, alleged that the sum was made available to the Amosun-led government in 2017 by the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide jobs for the residents through the mass production of rice.
It alleged that Amosun staged a jamboree ceremony and set up fake rice pyramids to deceive the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, when he (Emefiele) visited the state last year.
The Ogun State governor is accused of abandoning the project in spite of his promise to establish rice plantations in the three senatorial districts of the state
EFCC spokesperson Tony Orilade told the newspaper that all the corruption allegations would be treated on a “case-by-case” basis.
He said, “I don’t have the full details of the cases but investigations have been going on as regards some of these cases and as soon as their immunity is gone, we will take further action and if there is a prima facie case, we will take the matter to court.
“As for those who have won and are going to be covered by immunity, it does not mean that investigations will stop. They are not immune from investigation but from prosecution as guaranteed by the constitution. And at the proper time, if there is a prima facie case, they will be prosecuted.”