Group Accuses Governor Bello Of N11bn Fraud | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Group Accuses Governor Bello Of N11bn Fraud

Appeal Court, gov bello
Posted: Aug 17, 2016 at 6:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Ahmed Musa


Abuja – The Egalitarian Mission, Africa, a civil society organization, has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and anti-graft agencies alleging that the administration of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State has misappropriated state resources and laundered money to the tune of N11 billion.

Presenting the petition dated August 16, 2016, and signed by Mr. Olatunde Ojeomo on behalf of the group, which was submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday in Abuja, the Egalitarian Mission told journalists that, in seven months in charge of Kogi State, Bello has committed wanton looting of through bogus contracts to various companies, without following due process.

Mr. Kayode Ajulo, convener of the group, said copies of the document have also been sent to the President, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Alhaji Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, alerting them of how funds meant for the wellbeing of the government and people of Kogi State were being systematically embezzled and laundered.

Ajulo, an Abuja-based lawyer, said, “The move became necessary given that the Buhari-led administration has said it has zero tolerance for corruption and we have seen that what is going on in kogi is a sheer wanton looting and embezzlement.

“For those who know me well, I’m not from Kogi but we have interest in issues of good governance anywhere in the country. The governor of Kogi State cannot deny having anything to do with the President. But that’s not the case. What’s important now is to ensure that the President knows what is going on and takes action in line with the zero tolerance stance of his administration.”

Ajulo, who expressed optimism in the resolve and ability of Buhari to give due consideration to the petition, added that the issue as it concerns Kogi State would serve as a litmus test for this government’s stance on corruption.

“I will not join anybody to accuse the President of shielding those close to him from corruption trial, but in order to prove those accusers wrong, he must use this Kogi issue as a test case to demonstrate to the world that he really means what he says when it comes to fighting corruption,” he said.

Explaining further why Kogi is being singled out by his NGO for investigation, he said the systemic looting of the state by a man who is supposed to be the youngest governor and a pride of Nigerian youth calls for a special attention because both the local and international communities are keenly watching to see how the President will confront this.

Apart from the allegation of bogus contracts and money laundering amounting to over N3 billion, the petition further alleged that the Bello administration has siphoned another N3 billion through the Government House administration account under the cover of overheads, between March 10 and April 5, 2016.

Furthermore, the petitioners accused the state governor of misappropriating and looting the N20 billion bailout from the federal government and N10 billion Infrastructure Fund; the rights group urged the anti-graft agencies to commence investigation of the allegations as well as probe various bank accounts operated by the state government with Zenith, Access and Skye banks.

Similarly, it requested for the probe of the personal and company accounts of Bello, and the accounts of all the contractors and corporate bodies mentioned in the petition, to determine their level of culpability so that all illicit acquired monies and properties from the proceeds of the looted funds must be returned to the state government.

Those mentioned alongside the governor include Edward Onoja, Chief of Staff to the Governor, the Commissioner for Works, and the Commissioner for Finance.

Others are the Permanent Secretary, Government House, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, the Permanent Secretary, Board of Internal Revenue, the Accountant-General of the state, the Director-General, Bureau for Public Procurement, Kogi State,? the chairman, Board of Internal Revenue, as well as ?some unnamed business outfits.