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EFCC detains ex-NDDC MD, Ekere over alleged N47b fraud

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
19 May 2022   |   3:00 am
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arrested the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere

Nsima Ekere

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, arrested the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, for alleged diversion of funds to the tune of N47 billion through registered contractors of the agency.

The Commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwajaren, confirmed it to The Guardian last night.

The former NDDC boss was the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom in the 2019 elections. He also lost the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primary election to Governor Emmanuel Udom in 2015.

Nsima, 56, was the agency’s Managing Director between 2017 and 2018.

Sources with direct knowledge of the case said that Ekere was detained after he surrendered himself at the Commission’s office in Lagos on Wednesday.

“Mr Ekere has been under investigation for years. He surrendered himself for arrest on Wednesday after realising that the Commission was closing in on him,” one of the sources who pleaded not to be named because they did not get authorisation to speak to journalists on the matter, said.

The source said the 56-year-old is being investigated over allegations of contract inflation and the award of fictitious contracts during his time in office.

Ekere, who allegedly committed the offences starting in 2017, according to sources, allegedly laundered funds from NDDC accounts through contractors to buy choice properties in Lagos.

The EFCC, had on Tuesday, similarly detained a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, for allegedly receiving a suspicious N130 million payment from a contractor awarded a solar-powered electrification project in Akwa Ibom State.

The said contract was awarded to a certain Phin Jin Project Limited in 2011 for N240 million. It remains unclear if the company is registered with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission. A search of its name on the CAC online directory did not throw up any option.

Etteh was Speaker between June 6, 2007 and 30 October 30, 2007.

On Monday, the anti-graft agency had equally arrested serving Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, in connection with the diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80 billion.

According to the Commission, Idris was arrested in Kano State after failing to honour an invitation.

The anti-graft agency added that the accountant-general allegedly laundered funds through bogus consultancies.