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Monumental Fraud Rocks Zamfara State …… + How Gov Yari Milked The State Dry Eighteen Years After Creation…..

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Zamfara State till date remains a traditional rural state due to some lapses, gross non-performance and corruption by virtually all the previous administrations of the state. In this analysis, Society Reporters takes a peep at the state and the impediment that deters the progress and revealed that democracy still stands a chance to survive, only if the main actors can give the necessary inputs in real terms. For a long time, Zamfara indigenes have prayed for salvation and solace especially, this is what the political class in Zamfara lack, a sense of dedication, patriotism and commitment. Most of them are not even fair to themselves much less for those that gave them the mandate. Pundits averred that the attitude in itself is inimical to democratic ideals and consequently anti democratic and by extension autocratic, a situation where anything can go when money is involved is very disastrous and unfortunate. Truly, democratic set up in Nigeria were full of corrupt practices. It is the same practice that had hindered the state from economic growth and infrastructural development, despite collecting over N370Billion as statutory allocation from the federation account within the period.
Investigations revealed that Governor Abdul Azees Yari’s administration, has failed by the judgment of majority and in fact by his own admission and to register an appreciable success. His failures were indeed followed by his inability to fight corruption, or better still his choice to allow carefree attitude of people in the corridors of power to continue dominating the system. Our findings revealed that everything remains as it use to be, even worse. Money from the public treasury were used to achieve political ends, an episode where government tendered cash allegedly forwarded to top politicians for victories is still the public funds. And none of them has given any explanation in that respect. This administration has not made sincerity and dedication as their hallmark, which is why they have not built a strong economic base and a conducive Zamfara State. The money they were alleged to have looted is more than the little they spent for public projects during this administration. The evil calamity they inflicted on the masses is still haunting the common masses. The state has been placed into a waste basket. Ask them, is the money they stole into their accounts not enough to service the debt the state owes? After robbing the state of its resources, they still went to disgrace its image in the world. Governor Yari on assuming power, worsened the debt crisis in the state by securing illegal loan of N4Billion allegedly with high interest rate for some supposedly Sharia projects. The facility was secured without the approval of the state House of Assembly and before the constitution of the State Executive Council. Questionable projects that are not priority to the immediate needs of the people but were created to favour the economic interest of friends, associates and conduit pipes was awarded by Yari in violation of due process and from all analysis over inflated. Governor Yari is perhaps today the most widely travelled state governor in Nigeria, with a record of spending over N2Billion on expenses incurred on hotels, food and air craft charter across Nigeria, revealed by an insider that pleaded anonymity. His frequent travels to Dubai, London and Saudi Arabia, according to the source have cost the poor people of Zamfara State more than N500Million within less than one year according to the source. Within the same period, Zamfara owing to Yari’s negligence and disregard to the welfare of the people has lost the services of more than 20 medical doctors, due to nonpayment of their salaries and failure to effect the payment of their allowances and salary increments. Investigation also reveals that nearly 50% of the highly substandard but inflated projects Yari has embarked upon was concentrated in his home town of Talatan Mafara, a move condemned by citizens of the state as irresponsible for a leader that was elected by all the people of the state. Another source who pleaded anonymity told this online media that Yari was warned by his Malam not to relocate to the Government House, hence his illegal decision to remain in his home at Talatan Mafara, since he was elected and incurring huge expenses in the process and subjecting the police and other security agents to divide within the Government House in Gusau and the governor’s house at Talatan Mafara. Among all the former governors of Zamfara State according to those interviewed by Society Reproters, “Yari in less than one year through his conduct, policies and vision has proven to be the most insensitive with no clear policy direction. From creation, the state has never got any direction or focus due to poor financial management by the past leaders of the state. The whole system has become faulty democratically as there was no trust or truth in the system. The influx of the youth to the urban areas increased the rate of political thuggery in the state. According to Malam Bello Gusau, “it is shameful and disgraceful that the world has stepped into a global village, yet Zamfara is yet to locate its level, in dire need of development. The failure of all the government is because they did not have a sense of purpose, direction and focus. The gravity of the whole offence lies drastically and terrifyingly on the past leaders who left power to Governor Abdul’azeez Yari. While Yari had continued to plunder as the case of his predecessors, pundits believed that he inherited virtually nothing from the past governors. But considering the kind of leadership and lack of accountability Zamfara witnessed in the last ten months under Yari, the incumbent governor and his predecessors are to be collectively blamed for the backwardness of the state and for allowing so called contractors to defraud the state with nothing commensurate in return. Pundits also averred that if Yari is indeed serious in fighting corruption he must start with himself by stopping his unnecessary foreign and domestic trips and ensure sanity and transparency in awarding government contracts and in determining who or which company is qualified. They also said that Yari should start the war on corruption by subjecting his blood brother, Ja’afaru Dan’ auta to the EFCC for investigation, because according to them the stupendous wealth Dan’auta is intimidating the people with which he didn’t have prior to the emergence of his brother as governor must be investigated to convince the people that Yari is sincere and committed to fight corruption. They said virtually all the commissioners of Yari are redundant because all issues that has to do with money is now under the authority and monopoly of Dan’auta, Usman Sahabi Kaura and Alhaji Sani Jega. “The situation in Zamfara is unfortunate. Dan’auta is illiterate and has nothing before his brother became governor. Usman Sahabi has been cheating Zamfara and making Millions since Yarima was governor. If the governor is serious Dan’auta, Usman Kaura and Sani Jega must go to jail for the financial crimes they are committing against Zamfara and its citizens”, Bello said. But many believed that if the way Yari has started by reducing government to impact on the economic lives of few privileged in the state is anything to go by, he will go down as the worst governor Zamfara State has ever had. For now and in view of the typical leadership direction of Yari, the hope of getting a governor that will transform the state and its economy has been dashed in Yari.

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Nigerian Bank MD’s colluded with government officials to re-loot recovered Abacha loot – EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has accused commercial banks of colluding with government officials to re-loot recovered loot of the late dictator, Sani Abacha.

In December 2017, the Federal Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Switzerland on the return and monitoring of the $322 million Abacha loot.

The proceeds were intended for Conditional Cash Transfer under the Social Investment Programme which began in December 2016, under ex-president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The looted funds were meant to provide N5,000 monthly stipends to the most vulnerable Nigerians across the country.

However, on Sunday, a spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, in a statement, said that the anti-graft agency opened investigations into other alleged financial malpractices from the ministry; involving the COVID-19 funds and the World Bank- assisted loan coordinated by the Humanitarian Ministry to assist poor Nigerians.

The EFCC said, “Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving COVID -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.’’

The commission also revealed that N32.7 billion and $445,000 had been recovered from both past and suspended officials of the humanitarian ministry.

It added that the commission initiated investigations into the affairs of the humanitarian ministry inviting former minister, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and her successor, Beta Edu, suspended by President Bola Tinubu in January for alleged abuse of office.

 

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EFCC recovers N32.7bn, $445,000, faults Betta Edu, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, Halima Shehu

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has faulted suspended Humanitarian Minister, Betta Edu, her predecessor, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, and the Coordinator of the National Social Insurance Programmes Agency, Halima Shehu, while revealing that a combined total of N32.7bn and $445,000 has been recovered so far from ministry.

The commission made the development known on Sunday via its official X handle in response to rumours concerning the progress of its investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

The statement signed by the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, read, “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions. Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.

“On the issue of the works of the Commission against Naira abuse, dollarization of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far. Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the Commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life. These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“To this end, the Commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira. Old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

At the moment, the Commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the Commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter. The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

 

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CAC Places First Bank Records On Caveat Over Litigation

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The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has placed the records of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings on caveat pending the resolution of the crisis rocking…

The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has placed the records of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings on caveat pending the resolution of the crisis rocking the board of the bank as a result of multiple court cases filed by aggrieved directors.

The crisis rocking the bank stemmed from protests by shareholders who were kicking against the bank’s internal governance and shareholding structure, as a result of which some of them have taken their grievances to the court.

One of such is the case of Olusegun Samuel Onagoruwa v. FBN Holdings Plc in Suit No. FHC/L/CP/1271/2022), which is challenging the capacity of the Board of Directors of FBN to appoint new persons to fill vacant slots.

Onagoruwa in his suit is seeking “an order setting aside, nullifying, annulling and/or quashing the appointments and approvals of Mr. Olusola Adeeyo, Mr. Viswanathan Shankar, Mrs. Remilekun Adetola, Mr. Anil Dua and Mrs. Fatima Ibrahim as Non-Executive Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited made on the 20th day of March, 2024, by FBN Holdings PLC during the pendency of this action and in defiance of the subsisting order of this Honourable Court made on the 15th day of July, 2022.”

The motion also seeks an order restraining the above-named non-executive directors from acting or taking any steps as non-executive directors of the bank.

The current court case follows similar four other cases pending at the Federal High Court in Lagos and Abuja challenging the internal governance of FBN Limited, in addition to existing court injunctions restraining the bank from holding the last two Annual General Meetings which the bank went ahead to hold.

In a new twist to the crisis, the Corporate Affairs Commission in a letter entitled.

“Re: notification of pendency of suit no. fhc/l/cp/1575/23 against FBN holdings plc, and subsisting interim orders of the Federal High Court made on the 9th day of August 2023 restraining FBN holdings plc from holding or proceeding with its annual general meeting purportedly held on the 13th day of August 2023”, weighed in on litigations threatening to tear the old generation bank apart.

Signed on behalf of the Registrar General of CAC by Chidimma Maureen Nwite, the Commission in a letter to lawyers to some of the parties in court against FBN Holdings said: “This is to inform you that the record of FBN Holdings PLC RC: 916455 has been placed on caveat pending the determination of Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1575/2023.”

A shareholder, Mr. Olalekan Babalola, said “it is imperative for the authorities to find a solution to this lingering crisis as Nigeria cannot afford another major bank’s collapse at this critical time

He called for urgent resolution of all court cases in the overall interest of depositors, shareholders and other stakeholders of the bank before further damage is done to the oldest Nigerian bank.

 

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