EFCC chair resumes, to battle 25 abandoned cases against ex-govs, others
The new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, will inherit no fewer than 25 high-profile corruption cases involving former governors, ministers and senators, Sunday PUNCH can report.
Some of the cases, especially those against some ex-governors, have lasted several years. While some are still under investigation, some have spent years in court with no conclusive end to the trials.
Olukoyede was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday barely four months after the former chairman of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was suspended.
Based on Sunday PUNCH findings, the amount at stake in the high-profile cases is not less than N772.2bn and another $2.2bn, alleged to have gone missing through money laundering, fund diversion and misappropriation.
Some of the former governors who have been invited by the commission for probe include the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; his predecessor, Ayo Fayose; former governor of Zamfara State and incumbent Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; and a former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, among others.
Other lingering cases involving the commission include the former National Security Adviser under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd.), former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, among others.
On June, Fayemi was invited by the commission over allegations of N4bn misappropriation during his tenure as governor. Fayemi’s media aide, Ahmad Sajoh, had said in a statement the following day that the former governor was invited “regarding a money laundering petition against him”, adding that the petition was filed by a faceless group.
In May, the EFCC said the former Zamfara State governor was being investigated for the alleged diversion of N70bn from the state treasury. While the former governor accused Bawa of demanding $2m bribe, the EFCC in turn said Matawalle was under probe for N70bn fraud. As of the time of filing this report, the status of the bribery allegation and fraud claims could not be ascertained.
Also, Nnamani was charged to court by the EFCC over an alleged N5.3bn fraud but the case was struck out in 2018. The agency however said in February of the same year that it had the intention of filing fresh charges against Nnamani and his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu. As of the time of filing this report, it could not be ascertained if the EFCC filed the fresh charges as it promised, and the status of the case.
Similarly, a former governor of Nasarawa State and immediate past chairman of the All Progressives Congress Senator Abdullahi Adamu, was in 2010 accused by the agency of N15bn fraud when he served as the governor between 1999 and 2007. The commission filed a 149-count charge against Adamu and 18 others.
Even though Adamu argued the case against him had been struck out by the court, a claim the EFCC (the plaintiff) has yet to affirm or deny, the commission in 2018 arraigned Adamu’s son for N92m fraud. The status of the two separate cases had remained unknown.
Similarly, in 2021, the former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who was the presidential-candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party in the 2023 election, was interrogated by the EFCC over alleged non-remittance of N10bn pension fund. The outcome of the investigation was however not known why the EFCC had yet to state if the fund had been found.
The probe launched by the EFCC into the finances of Rivers State under former Governor Peter Odili has yet to see the light of day. The EFCC had said it was investigating Odili, the husband of a retired justice of the Supreme Court, for N100bn fraud in 2012. Although there was a perpetual court injunction restraining the Federal Government and its agencies, including the EFCC, from probing, arresting or prosecuting him, the former acting chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Magu, in 2020 said the case would be reopened.