N80bn loot: Finance Minister fingered!


*Accused of conspiracy in an N80bn fraud allegedly committed by AGF, Ahmed Idris

*That suspended AGF also indicted other govt officials in the alleged fraud

*He also fingered some elected public office holders in the alleged fleece

*One of those allegedly indicted, fmr Zamfara state governor, Yari already arrested

By Our Special Correspondent

As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC continues to interrogate the Accountant General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris over alleged N80 billion frauds, there are indications that the suspended AGF has allegedly indicted some top government officials including but not limited to the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna.

Nigerian Pilot reliably gathered that the suspended Accountant General, Ahmed Idris has been singing in the custody of the EFCC that there are other government officials and some elected public office holders who are also allegedly involved in the said fraud.

A reliable source close to the anti graft agency reveals to Nigerian Pilot that the suspended Accountant General has told his interrogators that the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed owned properties in Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos and Dubai allegedly laundered in the name of her husband.

Nigerian Pilot is in possession of some of the documents related to the Finance Minister’s alleged involvement in the fraud.

However, all efforts since two weeks by telephone calls and in writing to get the reaction of the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed and her husband to the effect proved abortive. Even as we are still continuing further investigation on the matter, the findings will be in our subsequent publication.

One of the elected officials who were allegedly implicated by the Accountant General during interrogation is the former governor of Zamfara state, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari who has already been quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over the alleged fraud.

Yari was said to have been arrested by the anti graft agency in connection with the agency’s ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris who is being accused of misappropriation of funds to the tune of N80 billion.

The former governor of Zamfara State was said to have been arrested at his residence in Maitama, Abuja after he won the ruling APC’s ticket for Zamfara West Senatorial election scheduled to hold next year. He won unopposed.

It would be recalled that the AGF, Ahmed Idris has been in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC custody since May 16, 2022 facing investigators over allegations of corruption to the tune of N80 billion.

EFCC are working with the information that he allegedly conspired with others to steal public funds which, by his role, he was meant to safeguard.

EFCC sources told Nigerian Pilot that suspicious transactions between Idris and Yari were “in the area of N20 billion.”

It would further be recalled that Yari is not new to anti-graft law enforcement actions.

Last year, he was repeatedly held and questioned by the EFCC over allegations that he criminally diverted billions of Naira in Zamfara state’s funds kept in a commercial bank.

Yari was governor of Zamfara State, an impoverished Nigeria’s northwestern state between 2007 and 2019. Under his reign, terrorist outlaws, commonly called bandits, started ravaging communities in the state unabated.

Meanwhile, the embattled suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was yesterday released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on administrative bail after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in a N174 billion fraud.

Idris was released on bail from the custody of the anti-graft agency on Wednesday night in Abuja and has since been reunited with his family.

The EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren confirmed this to our correspondent yesterday morning.

“The suspended Accountant-General is out on bail. He was released last night,” Uwujaren said.

Idris was quizzed by operatives of the EFCC on May 16, 2022, in connection with a series of frauds that was initially thought to be N84 billion.

Three days after his arrest, Idris was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, to enable him to face his probe.

A highly placed EFCC source told Nigerian Pilot that during questioning, Idris mentioned names, companies and a huge amount of money which is currently under probe.

He also made confessional statements and provided traces of funds, withdrawals and deposits in local and foreign currencies.

This led to the arrest of the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, and the Chairman and Managing Director of Finex Professional, Anthony Yaro, by the EFCC last week.

The EFCC source said that the acting-AGF, Anamekwe Nwabuoku, who was appointed after Ahmed Idris’ suspension is also under surveillance concerning accusations of financial impropriety.

The allegations against him include overpayment to himself while serving in previous ministries and agencies.

He was also alleged to have perpetrated fraud through the Government Integrated Financial Management System used to pay salaries of Federal Government staff.

“Some of the alleged infractions occurred when Nwabuoku was the Director of Finance and Accounts, Ministry of Defence,” the source maintained.