Matawalle Under Probe Over N70bn Fraud, Says EFCC
…says ex-power minister, Mamman still in custody
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has revealed that the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, is being investigated over allegations of corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion.
The EFCC said it was making the development known following the recent attempt by the outgoing governor to cast aspersion on the integrity of the agency’s fight against corruption by making what the agency described as ‘farcical allegations’ of corruption in assets disposal and plea bargain procedure, among others.
The Director, Media and Public Affairs, EFCC, Osita Nwajah, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the agency, Abdulrasheed Bawa, made this disclosure on Thursday while addressing journalists at the Commission’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja.
The anti-graft agency also confirmed that a former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, who was recently arrested by its operatives over alleged N22bn fraud, is still in detention.
Going philosophical, Nwajah said, “It is intriguing that Matawalle would want to take on the role of a supervisor, who tells the EFCC whom to investigate. Is this a case of a ‘thief’ saying he must not be touched until other ‘thieves’ are caught?
“Unfortunately, it is not within Matawalle’s remit to dictate to the EFCC whom to arrest, when, and where. Suspects in the custody of the Commission cut across all sectors and social class.
“The qualification to get a space in the Commission’s detention facility is to commit a crime. It does not matter whether you are a priest, Imam, governor or minister.
“Currently, a former minister of power is in the custody of the EFCC over a N22 billion corruption allegation. That conveniently did not attract Matawalle’s attention,” the EFCC remarked.
The anti-graft agency noted further that the outgoing governor of Zamfara State is being investigated for allegedly diverting money sourced as a loan from an old generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state.
Nwajah added, “But the real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC, over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion.
“The money which was sourced as a 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 Dollars and return to the state governor through some of his commissioners, notably the commissioners in charge of Finance and Local Government Affairs,” Nwajah disclosed.