A group under the aegis of Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has charged the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Abdulrashid Bawa to walk the talk by arresting and prosecuting the former Governor of Zamfara State Abdulazeez Yari and his cohorts over alleged diversion of N37.4 billion promissory notes being the refund of the rehabilitation of Federal Government roads in Zamfara State.
The group stated that Bawa during his Senate screening had vowed to bring to book all corrupt officials without fear or favour, noting that it had written several petitions to the Commission without any action from the agency.
In a statement signed on Thursday in Abuja by the Executive Director, Dr. Abdulahi Sani Shinkafi charged the Chairman of the Commission to make good his pledge while he was being screened by the Senate, noting that in spite of several petitions and the conclusion of investigations by the Sokoto Zonal office of the Commission, the former Chairman of the Commission Ibrahim Magu refused to arraign the suspects even when a prima facie case was established against them.
He stated that the Commission had on last week Friday invited him to come forward and authenticate his petition before the EFCC which he said he has done now leaving the Commission to do its part by inviting all those involved for investigation, interrogation, and possible arraignment.
The Executive Director had in a petition called on the EFCC to investigate the fraudulent misappropriation and diversion of the N37.400,263,782:33 billion promissory notes belonging to Zamfara State as a refund for Federal roads projects executed by the state government.
Shinkafi pointed out that those to be prosecuted by the Commission include the former governor, Abdulazeez Yari, his commissioners, branch manager of UBA in Zamfara, DMO office, and others.
Shinkafi had stated in the letter sent to EFCC: “I hereby wish to forward a petition to the Commission for a thorough investigation and possible prosecution of the case of the fraudulent and criminal diversion of the N37,400,263,781 being the promissory notes which were issued by the Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“The said N37,400,263,781 is a refund of the Federal rehabilitated roads in Zamfara state which was issued on December 28th, 2018 with Face Value #14,960,105,512:93 with a Maturity Date: 28th December 2020 and the 1st April 2019 with a Face Value of Promissory Note: #22,440,158,269:00 Promissory Note Reference FGN /PN/2019/SG/21 with Maturity Date of 1st April 2022.
“The Promissory Notes were however discounted to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) by former Governor Abdulazeez Yari ahead of the maturity dates without the approval of the State Executive Council or the resolution of the Zamfara State House Of Assembly. The Zamfara State government lost billions of naira after the Promissory Notes were acquired at undisclosed discounted rates.
“In his desperate bid to cash out the N37.400,263,781 that has not matured he terminated the deal by signing up undisclosed discounted rate percent per annum.
“We call for the investigation and possible prosecution of the following people for their active roles in the misappropriation of the promissory notes belonging to the good people of Zamfara State; Hon. Abdulazeez Yari, former Governor of Zamfara State.
“Hon. Mukhtar Idris former Commissioner Of Finance Zamfara State and former Director Of Finance Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Adamu Mohammed Ahmed, former Accountant General Zamfara State, Abubakar Bello R/Doruwa, former Permanent Secretary Ministry Of Finance Zamfara State, Mrs. Patience Oniha, Director-General Debt Management Office (DMO) Mr. Asiahana Bayo Okaurau Director-General Nigeria Governors Forum, Mrs. Chinwe Juliet Chima, The Branch Manager United Bank for Africa (UBA) Gusau.”
He noted that the question for determination is why the hurry to cash out the money before the maturity dates, stressing that the former governor Yari should explain what he did with the money he collected after making the state lose billions of naira as a discount.
“Why the DG and staff of the Nigerian Governors Forum should collect the promissory notes on behalf of the Zamfara State government having not been a staff of the state government.
“We hereby urge the Commission to invite the above-mentioned persons for interrogation, investigation, and prosecution.
It is on record that we had been invited by the Ibrahim Magu led Commission to come forward to adopt our petition which we did, our petition was thoroughly investigated, some arrests were made but the Magu led Commission did not allow the prosecution of the suspects.
“We hope that the Bawa-led Commission will do the needful and walk the talk by arresting and prosecuting all those found culpable in the wanton looting, diversion, and money laundering of funds belonging to Zamfara State,” he added.