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MAGU: FRESH CONTROVERSY OVER SEIZED ASSETS SALES, OTHERS

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  • Audit panel queries whereabouts of bank interest on seized cash
  • Alleges discrepancies in agency’s records of recovered loots
  • No seized assets sold in five years —Investigation
  • Suspended EFCC chair rules out going to court

An audit panel has raised questions on the whereabouts of the interest accruing from N550 billion recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from treasury looters.

The panel has also queried what it perceives as discrepancies in the EFCC records of recovered funds.

The questions are contained in the final report of the  Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets  (PCARA)  covering May 29, 2015 to Novembr 22, 2018


The panel is different from the Ayo Salami Presidential Investigation Committee which is currently probing allegations against the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mallam Ibrahim Magu, by the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Sources said yesterday that none of the assets seized by the EFCC had been sold, except the 244 trucks which a Federal High Court ordered to be disposed of by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the FHC in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources and the commission.

The proceeds of the sales were remitted into the Federal Government Recovery Account, it was gathered.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a report on Saturday quoted PRACA as saying in its report that it was “quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds.”

Citing foreign currency recoveries as an example, the audit panel said: “ EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of  N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgments were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of These inconsistencies cast a serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgments were  N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgment exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It therefore casts serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgments clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner, and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts,’’ the report stated in part.

The PCARA alleged acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

It said: “The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds,” the PCARA report said.

The panel was tasked to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015-2020, with a view to establishing compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

Seized assets not sold — Investigation

Fresh facts however emerged yesterday that none of the assets seized by the EFCC has been sold except the 244 trucks which the Federal High Court ordered to be disposed of by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court in conjunction with the Department of Petroleum Resources and the EFCC.

After selling the trucks, the proceeds were remitted into the Federal Government Recovery Account.

Sources also said there was allocation of vehicles to some government agencies through special auction with Presidential approval.

Assets under interim forfeiture order were also rented by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

It was learnt that recently the EFCC secured a presidential approval to dispose of 450 forfeited vehicles in Abuja and Lagos.

But the sale of the vehicles is yet to commence.

Despite his travails, the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC has ruled out a court action against the Federal Government.

He told his relations and lawyers that he has faith in President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure fairness and justice for him.

These details are contained in an investigative fact-sheet on the assets forfeited to the Federal Government.

The suspended EFCC chairman had been accused of selling assets to cronies and relations.

The fact-sheet was already made available to some MDAs and government officials.

Although Magu has denied the allegation, the Presidential Investigation Committee has directed all sectional heads, including the Director in charge of Assets Forfeiture, to submit their reports from 2015 to 2019 on or before Thursday.

Sources said “not a single recovered or forfeited property has been sold and the proceeds fraudulently converted.

“Also, there is a Presidential approval to dispose of 450 forfeited vehicles but no sale/ disposal has been conducted yet.”

One of the sources said: “In the coming days, the comprehensive list of these assets will be defended by the relevant units and Magu.

“It is important to clarify that some MDAs were involved in all the processes on how to dispose of assets; the EFCC or Magu was never unilateral.”

Some of the MDAs which benefitted from the forfeited assets after Presidential approval are the State House; the Ministry of Humanitaria
n Affairs and Disaster Management; the North-East Development Commission; the National Directorate of Employment( NDE); Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD); Voice of Nigeria (VON); the National Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons and Lagos State Government.

Those who have sought to rent properties under interim forfeiture are the National Council for Arts and Culture and the National Human Rights Commission.

Other beneficiaries are the Nigerian Army, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Magu is said to be not disposed to challenging the Federal Government in court under any guise.

His counsel, Mr. Wahab Shittu, made the clarifications in a chat with our correspondent.

He said: “Magu will not take the Federal Government to court because of his faith in the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and his respect for the person of the President.

“He also believes that notwithstanding the campaign of calumny, justice will prevail.

“Magu is convinced that there are sufficient documentary materials in the custody of various government agencies  that will exonerate him.”

The Ayo Salami panel is expected to continue its investigation on Sunday.

Source: the Nation

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THREE FMR. GOVERNORS, MINISTERS, AND TOP APC POLITICIANS HEADS MATAWALLE APC CAMPAIGN COUNCIL

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Former Governor of Zamfara Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi and Ahmad Rufai Sani were among the prominent APC politicians that are to head the gubernatorial campaign council for the second term bid of Governor Bello Matawalle.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Tijjani Yahaya Kaura and former Finance Minister Ambassador Bashir Yuguda are among the leaders of Zamfara APC gubernatorial campaign council.

The campaign council also has many former and serving senators, members of the Federal House of Representatives as well as serving and former ambassadors.

Abdulaziz Yari who is the Chairman of the Campaign Council has formally issued appointment letters to the hundreds of APC power brokers that are to work at the various campaign committees and subcommittees.

He charged the members of the campaign council to work harder and justify the confidence reposed on them by making sure that the Governor and indeed all the APC candidates are returned elected in the forthcoming 2023 election.

He also warned politicians and party supporters to shun political thuggery and conduct a campaign that violent free.
He further said his committee would not allow anybody to carry any kind of weapons except the security agencies that are mandated to do so.

He assured that the campaign council would conduct a hitch free campaign devoid of any thuggery activities.

Abdul Aziz Abubakar Yari appeals to the people of Zamfara state to ensure that APC candidates are massively given all the necessary votes to win election in 2023 general election.

He further charged the council members to redouble their efforts as the committee would work for the success of the party in the state.

He called on the other political parties in the state to emulate his committee by not allowing anybody, particularly the youth to carry dangerous weapons during their political campaign and charge security agencies not to spare anyone caught carrying weapons during the campaigns of the political parties in the state.

Also speaking during the occasion the director general of the campaign council who was a former Minister and Senator Alhaji Tijjani Yahaya kaura Namoda charge members to be vigilant and dedicated in the discharge of their responsibility as they have chosen based on merit; therefore they must lead APC to victory.

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ZAMFARA SEN. YAU INAUGURATES 2023 CAMPAIGN URGES CONSTITUENTS TO VOTE FOR TINUBU & ALL APC CANDIDATES

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The Senator representing Zamfara North Sahabi Alh Yau has inaugurate his 2023 campaign at Kaura Namoda local government area, the headquarters of the Senatorial zone.

The campaign inauguration was attended by hundreds of party supporters and well-wishers who joined the campaign rally with jubilation.

The Senator who expressed satisfaction with the effort he has put in place so far in delivering to his 2019 campaign promises assured that if provided the opportunity again, he will do more to consolidate from what he has done and ensure that more federal opportunities are brought to the door steps of his constituents.

He took time to make a review of his stewardship and thanked his constituents for given him the opportunity to represent them at the Nigeria’s upper chamber.

On the APC Presidential candidature, Sen. Yau in insisted that, Tinubu and Shetima Presidential candidature is the best option for Nigeria especially with the effort put in place by the Buhari led administration and why the gesture need to be sustained.

He urged people of his constituency to massively vote for Tunubu and Shatima as well as all the APC candidates across the board.

AFormer Governor Mahmuda Shinkafi, former Sen. Tijjani Yahaya and a host of other prominent personalities from the Zone attended the campaign Flag off.

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ZAMFARA: WHY ENGR SULEIMAN GUMMI’S DESPERATE TACTICS WON’T SAVE PDP

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OPINION ARTICLE

By

Yusuf Idris Gusau

—————————————————————

This is no doubt the best of times for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Zamfara State.

The party and its many candidates deserve the sympathy of all for the current situation it finds itself in.

Having lost all hopes of making any impact in the forthcoming general elections, it has resorted to untoward means, behaving like a bull in a china shop, destroying anything and everything in its way.

But how can a party of PDP’s standing, which has been in power at some points for many years and its candidates behave like deranged women whose kids have suddenly gone missing?

In this moment of madness, there should be a sane member within the lot who could rein them in; a rallying figure who could calm the fraying nerves.

But when a ranking member of one of the country’s highest law making body, the House of Representatives, Suleiman Abubakar Gummi’s joined the fray, it then becomes obvious that the situation is irredeemable.

The party, as it were, is doomed and at a dire point of no return.

The honourable member of the House of Representatives has swelled the number of the PDP’s attack dogs whose targets include the ruling party and the state chief executive, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle.

In a press statement he recently signed on behalf of “PDP candidates” titled “On critical national alert” Gummi went the “dishonourable” path by throwing decorum to the wind and lunched viral attacks on person and personality of Governor Matawalle with no iota of respect for his seat as the father of the state.

In doing so he deployed uncouth, crude and abusive language symptomatic of those low level maniacs unleashed at every opportunity as dogs of war.

But why will anyone be surprised at the action of this charlatan who forgot that his behavior could rob off on the integrity of the lower chamber he represents and taint the reputation of his colleagues in that reputable and respected institution? He is PDP member in the state after all and their stock in trade is to cause breach of peace in the state.

In the said press statement, Gummi went a rigmarole quoting the respected late social crusader, Martins Luther King and dancing around in circle.

From all his outing and vituperations, the only take away was the supposed arrest on Monday, November 28, of the party’s candidate for Zamfara central senatorial district, Alhaji Ikira Aliyu Bilbis by the police on charges of vandalism, which he claimed were trumped up.

In trying to elicit public sympathy to himself and co-travelers, he lumped the current issue with the earlier arrest of the Nigeria Union of Journalists chairman in the state but as usual, his effort failed to invoke the emotion and public outcry he had envisaged.

But let us even give him the benefit of the doubt and interrogate the issues his outing threw up. He has informed the public why Bilbis was arrested, but said the charges were “trumped up”. Really?

How did Gummi who is a lawmaker come about such a position over an issue that is before a court of law? Why is he in a hurry to clear the accused even before the court adjudicate on the matter.

The police even from Gummi’s statement did the needful by arresting Bilbis. They (police) did not hold him or keep him for long in their cell but charged him to court after their investigation.

The onus is therefore on the accused to exonerate and clear himself of the allegations.

The court even went ahead to grant him bail as Gummi testified in his statement. So why is it anybody’s fault if the accused failed to meet the bail condition? And because his associate failed to meet the stipulated condition to effect his release, Gummi is now accusing the judge and police of being tools in the hands of Matawalle in his alleged witch hunt of the opposition.

If a sitting governor is desirous in tackling an opponent who is clearly linked with a crime it would have been easy to clamp such person in police custody and claim that investigation is still ongoing as has been the case everywhere.

However, in this case, the police did not waste anytime in charging the accused to court where he is expected to defend himself. The court and its presiding judge should be commended for the expressway it granted the accused bail instead of being needlessly vilified like Gummi is doing.

His allegation that Matawalle was trying to muzzle the main opposition to whittle down their power and influence in the forthcoming elections is laughable because the PDP is not in reckoning and not a threat to APC in anyway.

He even went ahead to list those he thinks Matawalle will go after including the party’s governorship candidate, Lawal Dauda Dare. Waoo! Is this not absurd? Is Lawal Dare even in contention for the governorship race with all the court cases dangling over his head?

The so called governorship is still traumatized over his defeat at the federal high court, which nullified the primary that produced him and recently, the Appeal court.

It is fundamental to note that his ordeals were from his own very party and has nothing to do with Governor Matawalle. So it’s absurd to blame others for PDP’s misfortune and allege that anyone would hunt it’s candidates whose political future are uncertain.

And resorting to violence as a means to an end like the party and its members have been doing could only heighten the already tensed atmosphere which Matawalle has been working round-the -clock to manage.

The billboard saga wasn’t the only violent imprints the party has left on its route to 2023, a rally at its governorship candidate’s home had led to lost of Iives even as many were wounded. It’s sad that Gumi left out such important development from his statement.

As per the NUJ chairman which Gummi tried unsuccessfully to lump Bilbis case with to draw inspiration, he should have done the needful by telling the public the background of the affected person and the circumstances leading to such state of affairs to enable them appreciate and interrogate the issue based on its merit.

It’s imperative that Gummi calls a press conference or issue another statement to shedlight on the matter.

Having come from an honourable family, one would have thought Gumi will keep the legacy of the parental training we thought he received, unfortunately, even if he had such grooming as he was growing up, elements of bad politics and the fear of losing in the upcoming 2023 general elections have infuriated to throw away his sensibilities and turn disrespectful, dishonourable and regardless.

Certainly, with the overwhelming wind of mass support and mass mobilization going on in the APC, the likes of Gumi will not even be noticed when the electorate cast their votes to bring in APC at all levels in the coming elections.

As it were, rep Gummi achieved nothing by his recent desperate tactics. The PDP is doomed and irredeemable, and by 2023 the party will go into permanent extinction in Zamfara State.

Yusuf Idris Gusau
APC Publicity Secretary
Zamfara State
4th November, 2022

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