EFCC discovered N6bn belongs to Niger State, says Bello
Files 95-Count Charge Against Former Governor
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello yesterday said that the N6 billion discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as proceeds of crime were funds stolen from the accounts of the state government.
The governor made this known to newsmen after joining President Muhammadu Buhari and hundreds of other Muslim faithful to perform the 2-raka’at Juma’at prayer, at the Aso Rock Mosque, Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the EFCC uncovered two bank accounts containing a joint sum of N2 billion suspected to be the proceeds of crime.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren said the money which belonged to a former deputy governorship candidate in Niger State, Liman Kantigi was discovered following a tip-off by a whistle-blower.
Bello however, disclosed that an additional N2 billion had been uncovered by the EFCC from the same source, bringing the total amount of the discovery to N6 billion.
He said the funds are believed to have been siphoned by the suspects through inflated Hajj subsidies offered by the state government to Pilgrims within the periods he (suspect) served as the Chairman of the Niger State Pilgrims’ Agency.
The governor, who commended the EFCC for its efforts in recovering stolen funds across the country, expressed the hope that the recovered N6 billion would be transferred to the state’s accounts to enable his administration embark on developmental projects across the state.
He also acknowledged the efforts of the EFCC towards the recovery of the misappropriated ecological funds by the previous administration in the state.
“I am aware that the EFCC is investigating the ecological funds. At the inception of this administration we realised that the ecological funds disappeared.
“I did not have any evidence that it was utilised to address any ecological issues and we are faced with major ecological problems especially in Mokwa, Agaie, Bida, part of Minna, Rafin Gora and Mariga,” he added.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has filed a 95-count charge against former governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu at the state High Court in Minna following public outcry over his arrest and continued detention. The case was filed by a 14-man team from the legal department of the commission in Abuja.
Aliyu had been detained for over two weeks at the commission in Abuja since his invitation His house and farm in Minna have also been sealed-off by the EFCC.
The operatives were at the office of the state Chief Judge, who immediately assigned the case to the second most senior Judge in the state, Justice Aliyu Maiyaki.
Details of the case were not available as at press time yesterday, but a source said the charges bordered on misappropriation of public funds. The Guardian learnt that the case might come up for mention by Tuesday.