Group writes EFCC over alleged diversion of N365m to sponsor 490 Ulamas to Saudi Arabia

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A non-governmental organisation, Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asking it to invite, investigate and possibly prosecute former Governor of Zamfara State Abdulazeez Yari, his former Commissioners of Finance and Local Government Affairs for allegedly diverting over N365million from the accounts of the local government under the guise of sponsoring Ulamas to Saudi Arabia.

The Executive Director of PAPSD, Dr Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi in the petition to the EFCC Chairman routed through the Sokoto Zonal office of the Commission pointed out that all the local government area chairmen, secretaries, directors of finance and cashier duly signed a cheque leaf and submit the copy of the cheques to the branch manager.

Shinkafi noted that the sum of one N196,000,000 was unlawfully deducted and withdrew in cash at the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Gusau Branch on monthly basis, adding that the junior brother to the former Governor Abdulazeez Yari, Abubakar Alias Danauta is used as a conduit pipe to siphoned and diverted the funds for personal enrichment.

The group in the petition to the EFCC reads: “We hereby wish to forward a petition to the commission to invite, investigate and possibly prosecute the unlawful deduction of the monthly statutory allocation funds and withdrawals of the sum of N365,000,000, from the Statutory Allocation of November 2018 to sponsor 35 Ulamas from each Local Government Area of Zamfara State to Saudi Arabia to pray for the successful exercise for the recruitment and operation of Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), to fight armed banditry in Zamfara state.

“The State Governor directed the Commissioner for the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to make illegal deduction and withdrawals of N14,000,000, on monthly basis from all the 14 Local Government Area bank account domiciled in the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Gusau Branch.

“Going by the figures the sum of  N2,352,000,000 only are unlawfully deducted from Local Government Area Statutory Allocation Joint Account Committee(JAAC) annually at the detriment of the masses of our rural communities.

“Going by His Excellency approval the sum of Two Thousand Dollar ($2000) was approved to the Ulamas as Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA) to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but going through the payment schedule the record revealed that the sum of $1000 was paid to the beneficiaries against the approval of His Excellency. If you examine and scrutinized the signature signed by the beneficiaries, you will come to the conclusion the signature of the beneficiaries was forged and signed with one pen.”

Shinkafi, however, urged the Commission to find out what is the official status of Kabiru Kamba for signing and collecting the sum of $980,000 valued at N365,000,000 only on behalf of Zamfara State Government for onward disbursement to Ulamas as Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA)

“We hereby urge the commission to engage the service of a forensic expert to authenticate the genuineness of the signatures of the beneficiaries as claimed. In view of the highlighted above, I feel that this weighty allegation should not be swept under the carpet.

“We hereby request for a detailed painstaking and in-depth investigation to be carried out by your office to unveil those behind this cruel act.”