N23bn Diezani bribe: EFCC arrests ex-Zamfara gov, others

22 May 2016, Abuja – In continuation of its investigations into the $115m (N23bn) bribe allegedly disbursed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Sunday PUNCH learnt the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Saturday arrested a former Governor of Zamfara State, Mamuda Shinkafi; a former Secretary to the Government of Zamfara State, Aminu Nahuce; and Senator Hassan Nasiha, the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in Zamfara State.

*Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria's embattled former minister of Petroleum Resources.

*Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former minister of Petroleum Resources.

The fund was allegedly disbursed through Fidelity Bank during the build-up to the 2015 general election.

Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent that the three PDP chieftains were arrested based on the statement of a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, who reportedly confessed last week that he supervised the disbursement of N450m to leaders of the PDP in Zamfara State.

An impeccable source at the anti-graft agency said, “Operatives of the EFCC Kano zonal office revealed how the N450m was received by former Zamfara SSG, Aminu Nahuce; and one Mallaha as signatories for the documents securing the release of the money on Bashir Yuguda’s instruction which was shared in his house under his supervision.

“In his statement of admission to the investigators last week, Yuguda, a former Finance Minister under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, indicted the former Governor Shinkafi as a beneficiary of the money.

“Yuguda said in his statement that the ex-governor received N15m while Hassan Nasiha, a former senator and state PDP Chairman of Zamfara State and members of his committee received N5m.”

The EFCC source, however, told our correspondent that the anti-graft agency had told all those involved to return the money as it had been established that the money was stolen.

He said some of those arrested had agreed to return the money, adding that the Zamfara PDP chairman had returned N2m.

The source added, “The PDP chairman, Nasiha, claimed that he only benefitted N2m contrary to claims made by Yuguda that it was N5m. He has refunded the money to the EFCC. The two are currently under detention.”

The source added that Yuguda claimed that the remaining money was distributed to 14 local government councils in the state.

Yuguda allegedly said in his statement that N26m was given to each local government while some other PDP lawmakers received N5m each.

The source added, “The other beneficiaries listed by Yuguda include: 13 Zamfara Local Government Councils (N26m each totalling N338m). Yuguda said Gusau Local Government Council being the state capital was given N46m.

“Yuguda said the then Chairman, House Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety received N10m, while a senator got N5m.

“Yuguda added that the PDP deputy governorship candidate in the 2015 election got N5m, while other lawmakers and the PDP exco got N5m each.

“Yugua said the committee of party supervisors got N10m while some other group got N6m.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comment as of press time

Meanwhile, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has secured a five-year jail term for a former Chairman of Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State, Mr. Dele Fagoriola, for various corrupt acts while in office.

Specifically, Justice T.O. Osoba of an Ondo State High Court, sitting in Akure, found the ex-council chairman of  “conferring corrupt advantage upon himself” and his wife by approving and receiving the sum of N907,450 from the local government for conferences, seminars and workshops which he did not attend and to which his wife was not entitled.

The offence was said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The ICPC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, that it commenced investigation into Fagoriola following a petition in the form of an audit report from the Department of State Services requiring the commission to carry out an investigation into the activities of the former council Chairman, on several issues including a visit of the Governor of Ondo State to Akure North LGA; seminars and workshops; renovation of offices and purchase of furniture materials, among others.

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