EFCC arrests Kwara Government officials for N1bn illegal withdrawal
Those arrested and currently being interrogated in respect of the suspicious withdrawal, include Commissioner for Finance, Nurudeen Banu; Accountant General, Sulaiman Ishola; Commissioner for Water Resources, Yusuf Abdulkadir; Head of Service, Susan Modupe Oluwole; Special Adviser, Commissioner for Energy, Eleja Taiwo Banu; Chief of Staff, Abdulwahab Yusuf; officials of the Secretary to the State Government, and those of the Government House.
Similarly, the Enugu Zonal Office of the agency last Thursday arrested the Acting Accountant General of Imo State, Mr. Uzoho Casmir on suspicion of laundering the sum of N1.050billion, (One Billion, Fifty Million Naira) through a new generation bank for the governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.
Investigations by EFCC operatives revealed that the said money was withdrawn from Kwara State’s account domiciled with Sterling Bank.
According to the source, an official of the state government, Hafees Yusuf, confirmed to the operatives that he got instructions from his “boss” to withdraw some monies sometimes in February 2019
He said: “My Controller of Finance told me that the sum of N350,000,000 (Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) was paid into the account of Kwara State Government, and I was instructed by my boss to raise cheques of various sums of monies, which I did and were duly signed by the Controller of Finance; I withdrew the monies as I was instructed by my supervisor.”
“A senior staff of Sterling Bank, who is currently being interrogated by operatives, revealed that the Accountant General, Commissioner for Finance and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, are signatories to the account where N720,000,000 (Seven Hundred Twenty Million Naira) cash were withdrawn from the Kwara State Government Account domiciled in the branch of the bank located at Post Office in Ilorin between February 7 and 11, 2019” “Three Relationship Managers of the bank – Rahaman Alimi, Akinleye Ademola and Olarewaju Sarafa, were said to be the ones who parked the said money in bullion van and personally delivered it to the Chief of Staff to the Kwara State Governor, Abdulwahab Yusuf”
“The bank officials, further told operatives that they acted on the instruction of their “boss” which was identified as, Rasaq Abolarin”
He further disclosed that, the officials of the Kwara State Government have been granted administrative bail, even as investigations continue. They are expected to be arraigned before a Federal High Court in Ilorin next week. Source added.
“The suspicious withdrawals, were uncovered after operators acted on a petition by a Non-Governmental Organisation, the Kwara Coalition for Good Governance and Accountability (KWARA-CGGA) asking for the probe of over N1 billion loan that the State Government secured from a bank a few days before the general elections.”
Secretary General of the organization, Hassan Omoiya, noted that intelligence had it that the state government obtained the loan on February 13, from a bank using the remittance of Kwara State VAT allocation due in February and March 2019 as collateral”
“He further urged the EFCC to ‘determine the appropriateness of utilization of credit facility of N1 billion by Kwara State Government at the twilight of general election.”
It was gathered that Uzoho’s arrest followed intelligence report that Imo State governor intended to use the money for vote buying in favour of a particular candidate in today’s gubernatorial election, adding that intelligence further revealed that Mr Casmir withdrew the amount in three tranches between Tuesday and Thursday this week in the following order; N200million on Tuesday, N500million on Wednesday and N350million on Thursday.
It was gathered that the EFCC has blocked the traced accounts, while the arrested Accountant General has been providing useful information to the Commission.
Casmir was before his appointment, a Director of Finance in Okorocha’s government and was in 2016 fingered in N2billion bailout fund scam, which was given to the state by the Federal Government for the payment of salary arrears of civil servants.
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