Detectives have uncovered the alleged award of N279,675,796 phony contracts at a Federal Government agency.
Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA) Director-General Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley and seven others have been interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The others are the Deputy Director (Account), Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim; Mary Abioye (Central Processing Officer); Ajayi F. Alaba (Asst. Director, Head, Internal Auditor); Jonathan Mbachi (Asst. Chief Executive Officer Accounts); Banwo Oladele Oluwale (Chief Accountant); Joseph Awe Olufemi (Head, Salary); and David Okon Williams (Chief Executive Officer, Accounts).
Also interrogated is the owner of Full Range Bureau de Change into whose account N130m was allegedly paid.
Detectives have recovered about N135, 567,047 out of the N279.6million.
A source, who was privy to the investigation, gave the details of how the fraud was allegedly perpetrated by a top official and the staff of the accounts department.
The source said: “In the course of investigation, various sums of money meant for capital projects were observed to have been diverted by various staff of the Accounts Department as well as the Director General of the agency, using their personl accounts or their private companies.
“They hid under the guise of paying for projects/contracts that were either non-existing or never executed. About N135, 567,047 has been recovered and registered as exhibit.
“A summary of the amounts linked to each suspect and duly admitted by the suspects in their cautionary statements are as follows:
- Moses Beckley (DG NIHSA) – N40,000,000.00
- Hauwa Ibrahim (Deputy Director Accounts) – N49,112,502.00
- Mary Abioye (Central Processing Officer) – N47,546,000.00
- Ajayi F. Alaba (Asst. Director, Head, internal Auditor) – N2,000,000.00
- Jonathan Mbachi (Asst. Chief Executive Officer Accounts) – N305,000.00
- Banwo Oladele Oluwale (Chief Accountant) – N612,047.00
- Joseph Awe Olufemi (Head, Salary) – N7,759,400.00
- David Okon Williams (Chief Executive Officer Accounts) – N2,340,847.00
The eight suspects may face trial.
“From the investigation carried out so far, a case of conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds can be established against the suspects,” the source said, adding:
“We are going to arraign all the suspects very soon after the completion of our investigation.”
Another source said the EFCC acted on an anonymous petition which revealed the rot in the agency. The petitioners alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds.
Said the source: “The petitioner alleged that the Director-General of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency (NIHSA), Mr. Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley conspired with the Deputy Director, Account Mrs. Hauwa Ibrahim and some other staff of the Account Department and diverted large amount of money meant for the agency’s 2016 budget for their personal use.
“Upon receipt of the petition, the Director of Administration and Finance of the Nigeria Hydrological Service Agency was invited and interviewed. The Chairman of the staff union of the agency was also invited and interviewed.
“Staff of the account department were interviewed and their various statements recorded under word of caution.
“Voluntary statements of some staff of the agencies involved for 2015 and 2016 were obtained from various banks and analysed.
“Information on various companies linked to the suspects were also obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“A bureau de change owner, Full Range Bureau de Change whose account the sum of N130m was paid into was interrogated.”
The Director General of the agency, Mr. Moses Oluwatoyin Beckley, was interrogated and released on bail.
Ekiti poll: How FG moved N18bn cash through Akure Airport – PDP
The campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation (KOCO), on Thursday alleged that the Federal Government has moved N18 billion cash with bullion vans into Ekiti State through Akure airport with the purpose of allegedly inducing the electorate with the money during Saturday’s poll.
Director, Media and Publicity of KOCO, Lere Olayinka, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the party, said: “We called you here to intimate the public through your various media organisations of the movement of huge cash by the federal government to Ekiti State for the Saturday election.
“Last week Saturday, two bullion vehicles were moved to the Akure Airport to evacuate cash brought from Abuja by a chartered flight.
“The flight landed when it was raining and all staff of the airport were barred from going near the aircraft while the cash was evacuated into the two bullion vehicles.
“After offloading the huge cash, the bullion van first moved to the Ondo State Government House in Akure from where they left for Isan Ekiti, the hometown of the APC governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“We present to you and the entire world, video and photographs of the chattered aircraft as the cash was being offloaded from it into the two bullion vehicles.
“From our preliminary findings, N2.5 billion cash was transferred by the Kebbi State Government to an account in UBA, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. It was withdrawn immediately and moved with a private jet to Akure.
“Also, apart from the N2.5 billion, another $50 million (about N18bn) was taken from the $321 million recovered from the late Abacha family.
“Our question is, how can a government that claimed to be fighting corruption be releasing billions of Naira from the public coffers for the governorship election of a single State? Where is their fight against corruption?
“We, therefore, call on Nigerians to note this wanton looting of public funds by the APC government to fund the election of its members.
“We must tell Fayemi and his APC that the conscience of the people of Ekiti cannot be purchased and we call on the people of Ekiti to resist the planned use of stolen funds to buy their votes on Saturday.
“Lastly, let me use this opportunity also to alert the public of the intimidation and harassment of PDP members by men of the DSS and policemen.
“Already, Akin Fakorede, an officer of the Federal SARS has been posted to Ekiti State, ostensibly to play the same ignoble role that he played during the Rivers State election.
“Let me say it clearly that no amount of intimidation will scare our people away from the polling units where they will vote for the PDP on Saturday.
“We have the people behind us and they are more than ready to give our candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka their votes on Saturday, ” he said.
BREAKING: PDP storms National Assembly in protest over Ekiti
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu addressing PDP member during the protest at National Assembly, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by its chairman, Prince Uche Secondus stormed the entrance of the National Assembly to register their dissatisfaction over the intimidation of Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose ahead of July 14 governorship election on July 12, 2018.
Fayose had claimed that Security operatives molested him at the Ekiti government House on Wednesday.
The protesters who were welcomed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu condemned molestation of Governor Fayose in Ekiti State.
Speaking before the Deputy Senate President, Secondus called on international community to look at what is happening in Ekiti because it is a threat to the nation’s democracy.
He appealed to leadership of the National Assembly to intervene on the happening in Ekiti state.