The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed how public officials shared N94.39 billion bribe in the process of fast-tracking the payment of $2.2 billion to the nine oil producing states.
Four groups of public officials benefitted from the bazaar.
They are officials of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris and his cronies; the Commissioners for Finance in the nine oil producing states; and ex-Governor Abdulaziz Yari group.
The facts were made known on Thursday by the EFCC at the trial of the suspended AGF Idris.
Chief Investigative Officer of the case and Prosecution Witness One (PW1), Hayatu Sulaiman Ahmed, told Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court (FCT), Maitama, Abuja that the funds were shared to some groups, including RMAFC, represented by one of its Commissioners, Peace Akomas, former Deputy Governor of Abia State, who allegedly collected N18.8 billion.
He said the money was withdrawn by Akindele and converted to US dollars and handed over to Akomas.
“The second group is the AGF group and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion.
“The third group, the Commissioners for Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.
“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group: Abdulaziz Yari, former Zamfara State governor.
“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” the PW said.
Ahmed confirmed to the court that all his disclosures were confirmed by the defendants in writing, in their statements admitting to have collected all the monies.
The witness further told the court that 11.5% of $2.2 billion amounting to N44.7 billion was put aside as payments to some public officials to facilitate payments to the oil producing states.
“My Lord, investigation showed that Ibrahim, a BDC operator, received United States dollars from the first defendant (AGF). We also found out that agitation from the nine oil producing states, regarding derivation from the excess crude account, was tabled before the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and the committee came up with a figure of about $2.2 billion as what was due to the nine oil producing states, and these amount was to be deducted over a 60 months period on quarterly basis.
“After the determination of this committee, my lord, some companies, Akindele and Co., a company owned by the second defendant, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele was presented under the guise of consultancy.
“My Lord, until recently, the second defendant, Akindele was a staff in the office of the AGF, and Technical Assistant to the first defendant. Investigation revealed that N84.39 billion was paid into Akindele’s bank accounts. According to the witness, another transaction occurred on February 12, 2021 with N21 billion paid into his account,” he said.
The witness further revealed that aside the payment of money that was made on February 12, 2021, other payments were made on May 6, 2021, and between July 28, 2021 and November 5, 2021 amounting to N94.39 billion.
The EFCC said the suspended AGF compromised the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system (IPPIS), and carted away billions of naira belonging to the government.
Idris and his co-defendants: Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, are standing trial in a N109 billion fraud before Justice Ajayi.
Idris allegedly used the funds in constructing properties like the Gezawa Exchange Limited, Gezawa Integrated Farms, and Kano City Mall.
“We had cause to invite several individuals who had transactions with the Gezawa Commodity and Exchange Limited and found one Baita Ibrahim Kura of B I Kura Ibrahim, a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator based in Kano. We invited him and cautioned him and he voluntarily wrote a statement, claiming he made several payments like N208 million into Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz bank,” he said.
The witness further told the court that Ibrahim also admitted to have paid the sum of N866 million to one Architect Mustapha Mukhtar of Marsc Construction Limited for the construction of Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange limited.
Also, properties purchased with the funds by the first and third defendants were traced to various locations in Abuja, Kano, and Minna, Niger state.
The Judge has adjourned the matter to August 10 and 11, 2022 for continuation of trial.