Wednesday, 5 April 2017

‘N5.6b fraud’: EFCC detains ex-Niger Governor Aliyu

Former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu is being detained for alleged abuse of office and money laundering. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invited the former governor on Tuesday to reply to the allegations against him. Aliyu is said to be responding to issues isolated for him by a “crack team of investigators”. He has been grilled for more than 10 hours by detectives. The ongoing probe of the ex-governor has nothing to do with the petition to the EFCC by the Niger State Government on a N2.9 billion loan obtained in the twilight of his tenure. A source in the anti-graft commission said: “Specifically, the Chief Servant, as he was called in his days as governor, is alleged to have diverted N2 billion Ecological Funds for political purposes. “He is also alleged to have fraudulently sold the state’s stake in North South Power, the holding company for Kainji Dam. About 16 per cent of the state’s 26 per cent shares in the company was sold for N3.6 billion. “Of this, N1.090 billion was paid to the Government House and used for the 2015 elections, where Aliyu’s protégé, Nasko, ran unsuccessfully as governor.” The source gave the details of the EFCC’s investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the state’s Ecological Funds by the ex-governor. The source added: “Three companies were said to have benefited from the heist through contract awards. Among them a company that is owned by a former government official, which allegedly got a contract for which it was paid N847 million. “Of this sum N800m was allegedly given to a former chief of staff who allegedly handed the money to the former governor.” A company owned by a friend to Ibrahim Nasko, younger brother to a former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko got N487m for a contract. “The money was paid to various Bureau de Change, converted into dollars and handed to the former Chief of Staff( Nasko) who also delivered the money to Babangida Aliyu,” the official said, pleading not to be named because he is not allowed to talk to the press. “Secta Plus however executed the contract it received from the Niger State Government. ”He is detained as there are several issues yet to be covered even though he has made useful statement.” As at press time, it was gathered that the ex-governor had an outstanding case based on a petition by the state government on a last-minute N2.9billon loan obtained by his administration. The state government had said: “The attention of the Niger State Government has been drawn to the continued denial, in the media, by the officials of the past administration that they obtained a loan of N2.9 billion on the eve of their departure. “The government will allow the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to do its job, as the case was already before it. It is important to ask some significant questions on the activities of the past administration. ”For instance, the government in the statement wondered why would the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG) denied collecting N600 million only to later admit that he collected the sum of N612 million for ‘general’ security during the last senatorial bye-election in the state. ”Was the money actually budgeted for, and was it used for the purpose intended? Why were the said funds given to the SSG; was he the Chief Security officer or INEC?” ”It is obvious that these government officials have chosen the hard way rather than the easy one, and the hard way they will get,” the government assured. Also in August 2015, the House of Assembly passed a motion directing Governor Abubakar Bello to probe the administration of Babangida Aliyu. The Assembly’s motion was moved by the member representing Bida II Constituency, Mohammed Haruna. The motion listed 22 activities of the past administration that should be investigated.


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