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Matawalle’s alleged N70bn fraud: Group asks EFCC to revisit probe

Members of the Zamfara Alternative Forum stormed the EFCC headquarters on Friday in protest, urging the commission to revisit the alleged N70bn money laundering during the tenure of the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, as Zamfara State governor.

 

Speaking during the protest, the group’s spokesperson, Mahmud Abubakar, urged the EFCC to resume its investigation.

He said, “The Zamfara Alternative Forum urges the EFCC to resume its investigation of former Governor Bello Matawalle over the N70bn fraud uncovered by the commission during his tenure as governor of Zamfara State.

“This will serve as a deterrent to others considering engaging in corrupt practices in public office, especially in addition to what happened to the humanitarian minister.

“The mismanagement of public funds has far-reaching effects on the people and the state. It leads to a lack of development, a loss of revenue, and a decrease in the quality of life for the people.”

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, responding through the EFCC’s acting Director of Public Affairs, Wilson Uwujaren, vowed to revisit the probe .

Olukoyede made the development known in Abuja on Friday who spoke with journalists following a protest by the Zamfara Alternative Forum at the EFCC headquarters, Jabi, Abuja.

Uwujaren said, “I want to thank the Zamfara Alternative Forum for doing this peacefully. We like this kind of peaceful protest and initiative by young Nigerians. I want to assure you that, as far as the commission is concerned, nobody is above the law.

“What the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, has done since assuming office is that he has reviewed all the high-profile cases he inherited.

“And the EFCC Chairman has asked me to assure you that this case, like others, would not be an exception. The case will be reviewed, and the Chairman assures you that something will be done under the law, and no one is above the law and no case shall be swept under the carpet.

“Be rest assured that this case will be revisited because the EFCC believes that no case should be swept under the carpet. If you have done something wrong and our investigation is able to establish that you have a case, we will proceed with the matter.”

On May 18, 2023, the EFCC, through its Director, Media and Publicity Affairs, Osita Nwajah, said Matawalle was being investigated by the commission over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts, and diversion of over N70bn.

“The money, which was sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the governor through proxies and contractors who received payment for contracts that were not executed.

“The commission’s investigations revealed that more than 100 companies received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state.

“Some of the contractors who had been invited and quizzed by the commission made startling revelations on how they were allegedly compelled by the governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him through his aides after converting the same to United States dollars,” Nwajah had said.

The EFCC had noted that the money, which was sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the former governor through proxies and contractors who received payment for contracts that were not executed.

The commission’s investigations further revealed that several companies had received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state.

 

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