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N80bn fraud: EFCC uncovers 17 properties linked to accountant-general

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Suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has traced at least 17 properties to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, The PUNCH has learnt.

This is just as the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, suspended Idris who is currently being investigated for fraud to the tune of N80bn.

An official of the EFCC, who wished to remain anonymous, said the properties traced to Idris are located in Kano, Lagos, Abuja, Dubai and London.

He, however, said preliminary investigations showed that the nation’s chief accountant allegedly used proxies to buy some of these properties. The commission would therefore need to invite some of the proxies of the accountant-general.

The detective added that from all indications, these properties were purchased while Idris was in office and did not declare them before the Code of Conduct Bureau as stipulated by law.

He added, “About 17 houses in London, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Dubai have been traced to him. In Abuja, some of the houses are located in serviced estates.”

The EFCC had in a statement on Monday announced the arrest of the accountant-general for fraud to the tune of N80bn.

The statement read in part, “The commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates. The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.”

It was learnt that Idris came under scrutiny last year following allegations that he offered huge sums of money to a family in order to secure the marriage of their 16-year-old daughter.

The uncle of the teenager, Nura Bagudu, had told The PUNCH in an interview that the accountant-general offered properties and gifts to the young lady and her family and had lodged complaints to the Federal Government.

“He told the young lady to go to Abuja and choose any house she wanted and he would buy it for her,” Bagudu had told The PUNCH.

Also, the accountant-general had in 2021 launched Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited which he had openly admitted to owning.

Idris stated this when he received a delegation of Kano Concerned Citizens Initiative led by its late Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Tofa. The project is said to be worth huge sums of money which is far more than his income.

An EFCC official said the legal department was already getting an order to remand the accountant-general and get an interim forfeiture on some of his properties pending the completion of investigations.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Wednesday announced the suspension of the accountant-general in order to allow for a seamless investigation.

In a letter conveying Idris’ suspension, the Minister of Finance warned the embattled public official not to visit the office at any time, adding that the suspension was in line with the public service rules.

The letter titled, ‘Letter of Suspension’ read in part, “Following your recent arrest by EFCC on allegations of diversion of funds and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective May 18, 2022.”

Efforts to get a response from the Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as he did not respond to calls.

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DSS storms ECWA Church, takes out 21 Muslim boys allegedly being forcefully converted to Christianity

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JOS – The Department of State Security (DSS) has raided a house located at JMDB quarters, in the Tudun Wada community of Jos North LGA of Plateau State, North-central Nigeria where the operatives rescued 21 young people, including almajirai, Daily Trust has reported.

The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), while confirming the incident, said the rescued victims told the group during interrogation that they were forcefully brought to the house and converted to Christianity.

The General Secretary of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev. Yunusa Nmadu, said the house which was raided by the DSS was under the custody of the church but denied that it was used to convert people to Christianity, adding the claim should be discarded.

Daily Trust reports that the DSS raided the house on June 14, and recovered the victims, who were said to have been brought to Jos from another state.

The raid of the house, according to the JNI’s Director Aid Group Plateau State chapter, and Chief Security Officer, Jos Central Mosque, Danjuma Khalid, came after one of the victims, Abdulrahman Usaini, who escaped from the house, reported that they had been camped in the house for eight months.

Khalid said the DSS operatives raided the house following JNI’s report.

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“On June 13, a group of people including Abdulrahman who ran away from the house met me here in the Central Mosque saying that they had come to report an issue regarding forceful adoption and conversion of their pupils to Christianity by ECWA Church in Jos.

“While narrating the incident, the escapee told me that he and one other, Nura Usama, were forcefully taken by some individuals in a Camry Toyota Car from Gombe, to ECWA headquarters, Jos, and after being documented, they were later taken to a house at Tudun Wada, where they were camped, and that he had ran away, leaving his brother, Nura at the house.

“On June 14, we reported the case to the DSS, Plateau State command, and the escapee narrated to the DSS how they were taken from Gombe to Jos and how he escaped from the house in Tudun Wada area. Immediately after we reported the matter, the DSS swung into action. The operatives of the command went to the house in Tudun Wada alongside the escapee, stormed the premises and rescued 21 children.”

He said when the victims were brought to the DSS State Command, two of the victims  – Abdulrahman Usaini and Nura Usama – were handed over to JNI, the uncle to Abdulrahman, and their teacher, while the remaining victims were left under the custody of the DSS until their parents or relatives were found.

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NDLEA arrested some politicians in possession of illicit drugs

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NDLEA boss, Buba Marwa

Buba Marwa, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), says officers of the agency arrested some politicians in possession of illicit drugs.

Marwa said this on Sunday when he featured on Channels Television’s ‘Hard Copy’.

The chairman said he was “somewhat disappointed” that the drive to have public officers undergo drug-tests before they assume office did not go through.

“But the idea is not original. We are promoting what is going on already in Kano state. In kano state, all politicians under the governor’s party, aspiring for an office, must first demonstrate in the screening process that they are drug negative and I’m in full support of that,” he said.

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“We have arrested politicians who either are holding political office or have retired. Recently one of them was jailed in Lagos, he was trying to smuggle 1kg, maybe to use it to run for office.

“As you know, the cartels also participate in political institutions, they actually fund candidates into the various levels so that the correct laws (that favour them) are enacted.”

Speaking on the rehabilitation of drug users, the NDLEA chief said there is a dearth of rehab centres “and there are thousands if not millions of drug users who need help but there’s no where to go. And so they snuck back into their bedrooms and continue to take drugs”.

“Right now we have just 11 model rehab centres in the country which is very low. The Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) recommended that there should be about three centres per state looking at the prevalence and the federal government already through the ministry of health, has agreed to build one more rehab centre in every state,” he said.

THE CABLE

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Surety docked for failing to produce brother in court

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A 28-year-old man, Innocent Okoloneli, who allegedly stood as surety for his brother and failed to produce him in court, was on Monday docked in a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Yaba, Lagos.

The police charged Okoloneli, who resides in Bariga area of Lagos, with attempt to pervert justice.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecution Counsel, ASP Rita Momah, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on April 30, at the office of  the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti in Yaba, Lagos.

Momah said the defendant stood as a surety for his brother, Victor, who was facing a charge of obtaining by false pretences and theft.

She that while the matter was still being investigated by the police, the defendant willingly stood as a surety for his brother at the station.

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She added that the defendant also signed an undertaking to produce his brother in court until the end of the case against him but failed to do so.

The offence, she said, contravenes the provisions of Section 97 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 97 provides seven years imprisonment for attempt to pervert justice.

Chief Magistrate Adeola Adedayo admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N5million with two responsible sureties in like sum.

She held that the sureties must submit copies of their National Identification Number (NIN), and their Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) card.

She further directed that both of them must be residing within the court’s jurisdiction and be gainfully employed with evidence of three years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

Adedayo adjourned the case until July 19 for mention.

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