Sunday, April 18, 2021

Nigeria: Former governor, ex-bank chairman under investigation for $18 million fraud


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the immediate past governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, a former Chairman of Skye Bank, Mr Tunde Ayeni, retired Air Vice Marshal Salihu Atawodi and five others for an alleged N6,549,942, 637.14 fraud in an arms deal.

Reports have it that the alleged fraud was perpetrated by the defunct Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS), which was headed by Atawodi with about N4.9bn cash moved from PICOMSS accounts without any specific project in mind.

Also, the sum of N1,475,144,199.15 was said to have been released for the purpose of lobbying members of the House of Representatives to convert PICOMSS into an agency with Maritime Security Agency being the proposed name.

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The chairman of the House Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety at the time was said to have convinced Atawodi’s PICOMSS to part with the cash.

The said sum received was such a top-secret that a former Speaker was given N1m as his share.

The Nation reports that some former members of the House of Representatives who benefitted from the bribe-for-bill cash might be invited for questioning.

Sources also told The Nation that a serving governor who was reported to have spearheaded the operations, while serving as the then chairman of the House Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety is also being quizzed by the EFCC.

Reports have it that he was initially cooperating with the EFCC on the investigation, only to stop honouring the invitation of the anti-graft agency two days before he was declared elected by the Supreme Court.

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While he currently enjoys immunity from prosecution by virtue of his office, it is expected that the remaining key suspects would be arraigned in court soon.



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