The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it will arrest the Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, for alleged N70billion fraud once he hands over on May 29 and he is no longer protected by the constitutional immunity.
EFCC had said it was currently probing Matawalle and there was therefore apprehension at the Government House, Gusau.
Also, Matawalle of Zamfara had accused the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of being corrupt.
The governor, in a press statement on Wednesday, personally signed by him, had said Bawa should also surrender himself for investigation.
According to Matawalle, he and some eminent Nigerians have evidence to substantiate Bawa’s corrupt practices and abuse of office.
Meanwhile, in a press release, the anti-graft agency on Thursday said Matawalle would be arrested as soon as he handed over on May 29.
“The Commission would like to put the nation on notice to expect more of the kind of wild allegations made by Matawalle as those at the receiving end of EFCC’s investigations, fight viciously back.
“But the real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC, over allegation of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70billion.
“The money which was sourced as 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 so far reveal that more than 100 companies have 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.
“They confirmed that they did not render any service to Zamafara state but were allegedly directed to convert the monies paid to them into United States Dollar and return to the State governor through some of his commissioners, notably the Commissioners in charge of Finance and Local Government Affairs.
“One of the contractors, a popular Abuja property developer, collected N6billion on a N10billion contract without rendering any service to Zamfara state. Another contractor collected over N3billion for a contract for the supply of medical equipment but the Commission traced a payment of N400million from his account to a Bureau de Change operator. The contractor confessed the payment was to procure the dollar equivalent allegedly for the state governor.
“As part of the extensive investigation of contracts awarded by the Matawalle administration, especially for phantom projects in the local government areas, the Commission has recovered a sum of N300million from a company, Fezel Nigeria Limited. The funds were traced to the Zamafara Investment Company.
“The EFCC investigation is the source of anxiety in Government House, Gusau, with the governor in mortal dread of his fate once he steps down as governor on May 29. In Nigeria state governors and their deputies enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution while in office, a reason the EFCC has yet to arrest Governor Matawalle.”
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