SUSPENDED AGF IDRIS: More Heads To Roll Over N200bn Fraud 

SUSPENDED AGF IDRIS: More Heads To Roll Over N200bn Fraud 
  • As cabinet members, others named 
  • EFCC uncovers 17 properties linked to embattled AGF, arrests ex-Gov Yari 

By Abdullateef Bamgbose and Cyril Ogar, Abuja  

The numbers of top personalities in the current administration that may be consumed by the ongoing probe of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, are increasing on a daily basis as the investigation proceeds, AljazirahNigeria can authoritatively report.

A highly placed source in the anti-corruption circle told AljazirahNigeria that the total sum in the series of coordinated scams traced to the AGF is up to N200bn, adding that too many people in the President Muhammadu Buhari cabinet, elected office holders at national and state levels, heads of agencies and parastatals and senior civil servants are neck deep in the scam.

It would be recalled that Idris was nabbed by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on May 16 in connection with a series of fraud that was initially thought to be in the region of 80 billion naira. He has been held by the Commission for weeks and he is said to be volunteering a lot of information regarding the dramatis personae involved in the alleged sleaze.

Three days later, Idris was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Idris, to enable him to face his probe. An overseeing AGF, one Mr Anamekwe Nwabuoku, was named in his place on May 22.

In a twist of fate, it became clear hours after that announcement that the new AGF has also had a scandal-ridden career in the civil service.

According to credible sources familiar with his antecedents, the EFCC is also investigating him for a series of graft allegations and Nwabuoku is known to visit the headquarters on a regular basis as part of the investigation routine.

Some of the allegations against him include overpayment to himself in previous MDAs he served.Some of the properties he acquired fraudulently and being recovered by anti-corruption agencies.

One of the sources informed AljazirahNigeria that perhaps his major financial crime was allegedly committed while he was the Director of Finance and Accounts at the Ministry of Defence where he was said to have enriched himself with internal security funds.

He was allegedly involved in other fraudulent activities and using the Government Integrated Financial Management System, GIFMIS, to steal the salaries of Federal Government staff.

* EFCC Chairman, Bawa

Our source has now told us that what has been unearthed and made public in the AGF Idris whole scandal is infinitesimal compared to what is coming.

According to the source, since the commencement of the entire investigations, Idris’ confessional statements, traces of the funds, withdrawals and deposits in local and foreign currencies, have reportedly led to the arrest of former governor of Zamfara state, Abdulaziz Yari, who like Idris, is still in EFCC custody at the time of filing this report.

Also arrested on Sunday in connection with the investigation was the Chairman and Managing Director of Finex Professional, Anthony Yaro. The findings so far, the source said, will lead to more arrests.

AljazirahNigeria gathered from the source that as the investigation progresses, a lot of powerful and influential figures in this administration have been fingered to have benefitted from the diversion of 200 billion naira, adding that the EFCC would soon swoop on those suspects for interrogation and prosecution.

Recall that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has, once again, uncovered another N90 billion alleged fraud involving the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.Idris, who was seeking bail last night, had reportedly opened up on some top government officials allegedly involved in some transactions.

Further expanding the scope of the ongoing probe of the suspended AGF by the EFCC, the latest revelation made the alleged money laundering involving Idris, former governor of Zamfara State, Abdul-Azeez Yari, a total of N170 billion.AljazirahNigeria had reported that Yari was arrested by the anti-graft agency at about 5: pm, Sunday evening, and taken into custody.

The EFCC had also grilled a Permanent Secretary in connection with some “deals in which he was implicated”.The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had suspended the embattled Accountant-General, Mr. Ahmed Idris, over the N80bn fraud allegation.

Mr. Idris was subsequently arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Kano.The Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, Mr. Tanko Abdullahi, confirmed that the AGF was suspended indefinitely, to allow unhindered investigations into the alleged fraud.Mr. Idris’ arrest, according to the spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, followed allegations that he fraudulently amassed the money through bogus consultancy contracts, and other illegal activities, using proxies, associates and family members.

The commission alleged that Mr. Idris laundered the money using real estate investments in Kano and Abuja. He was said to have been arrested following his failure to honour invitations by the anti-graft agency.

“The Commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates,” the statement read. 

“The Commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked-off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.

The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja. Mr. Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts”.

The Commission had in a series of detailed investigations exposed how Idris acquired several properties whose values ran into billions of naira since he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Administrative Head of the Treasury in June 2015”, a statement from the commission read.

A visit to Gezawa Commodity Market Limited and Gezawa Integrated Farms Limited owned by Idris lend credence to the allegations made by concerned citizens and some stakeholders on how and where the AGF got the money he used in acquiring the multi-billion naira firms, both in Kano through his direct family members.

The shareholdings of both firms indicate a spread of Idris family members on the official board.Certified copies of the documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission obtained by AljazirahNigeria showed that the shares for Gezawa Commodity Market Limited are distributed among the family members of the AGF as follows:(1) Zainab Ahmed Idris: 35,000,000 shares(2) Shamsiyya Ahmed Idris: 35,000,000 shares(3) Nabila Mu’azu Abubakar: 35,000, 000 shares(4) Zuhair Ahmad Idris: 22,500,000(5) Hussain Ahmad Idris: 22,500,000 shares(6) Abdulrahman Ahmed Idris: 22,500,000 shares(7) Khadija Ahmed Idris: 18,500,000 shares(8) Mua’zu Abubakar lll: 40,000,000 shares(9) Mohammed Chiroma: 60,000,000 shares(10) Alh Usman Kansila Yahaya: 60,000,000 shares(11) Baloni Ibrahim Lawal (representing Silvermark Investment Limited) : 60,000,000 shares(12) Abubakar Nabila Mua’zu, representing Gezawa Integrated Farms Limited: 20,000,000 shares.

There have also been questions asked about how the AGF bought “Sokoto Hotel” in Kano with N500million cash. 

AljazirahNigeria gathered that Idris upon acquiring the hotel ordered its immediate demolition with the intention to build a multi-billion naira shopping mall on the property.Despite clocking 60 years in 2020, Idris succeeded in pulling different strings in the Presidency to secure an extension of his appointment beyond the legal limit.

He engaged the services of highly placed persons including governors, senators and Emirs who prevailed on President Buhari to give him an extension.

The action is however against the civil service rules, which states that a career civil servant must disengage from service either after attaining 60 years of age or having worked for 35 years, whichever comes first.It was also against a circular from the Office of the Head of Service to all agencies of the Nigerian Government which says, “For avoidance of doubt and in order to maintain discipline and integrity of the Extant Public Service Rule which prescribed 60 years of age or 35 years of service for mandatory retirement, should strictly be complied with.

“Accordingly, the following guidelines shall apply:(I) that career officers who take up tenured appointments should at the point of taking up the appointment retire from service to ensure they run their term uninterrupted.

(II) That career officers who have not retired from service before the commencement of their tenured appointment must leave office on attainment of mandatory age/years of service for retirement and(iii) That career officers who are currently holding tenured appointments are required to retire from service with immediate effect and continue to run their term.

Failure to do so would mean that they would vacate office on attaining the mandatory age or at the expiration of their term whichever comes first”.Idris’ arrest is also coming few months after he secretly married a 16-year-old Kano State girl, identified simply as Hussain.

A string of reports revealed that despite Hussain’s family kicking against the wedding, Idris who turned 61 on November 25, 2021, insisted on marrying her.

“This is our late sister’s daughter by name Hussain; she’s just sixteen, not long that she clocked sixteen years old but it’s very unfortunate that a lady called Amina was the one that linked or brought the Accountant-General to our house in order to seek her hand in marriage.

This, she did, knowing that this is a very young girl, what does that mean? It shows the accountant general is just after that small girl to take advantage of her youthful age.“Immediately I heard, I messaged him because when I was working with the then Head of Service, I had the opportunity of having his contact when we met over a serious matter about the country.

So I messaged him on WhatsApp regarding his wedding. I sent him my picture, that of my son, my late sister and the daughter, Hussain. He replied that it’s a small world which confirmed the wedding was true”, a top family source had confided in this newspaper. Why are things happening in this country like this? He even told the girl to go and look for any house of her choice in Abuja, that he is ready to purchase it for her”.

Investigations revealed that the alleged heist of Ahmed Idris, came with deja vu, as Tumsa, the then former Director of Finance Ministry of Works Housing  and power  deployed to the Office of the Accountant General is alleged to have played a significant role in the rot in the  Treasury House, as the Accountant General’s office is referred to.

Tumsah then as a serving director in the Ministry of Power and Housing before he was deployed to the Accountant-General Office was linked to properties splashed all over Abuja, Kaduna and Yobe where he comes from, using his name, brother, children and wives to acquire them.Some of his multi-billion Naira properties discovered by us are: A quarry plant located in Kuje, Abuja.

Apartment located at No. 34, Euphrates Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.Apartment located at No. 27, Cairo Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja.

Twin Duplexes located at No. 5, Sirasso Crescent, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja.Two houses located at FCDA Quarters, No. 4, Alexandra Street, Wuse 2, Abuja.A leather manufacturing factory located at No. 22, I.T Igbani Street, Jabi, Abuja.

An egg crates manufacturing factory located at Kakuri Makera, Kaduna.A large farm located along Biu-Damaturu Road ,Gujba, in Yobe State.A gigantic mansion at Degel-Gobarau Road, Kaduna.

Further investigations revealed that Tumsah used two companies namely Rain Integrated Services Insurance Brokers Limited (RC: 1284097) and Rain Integrated Bureau De Change Limited (RC: 1106983) registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission but used his younger brother, Tijani Tumsah as the front for the corruptly amassed companies and investments across the country so as to evade anti-graft and security agencies.

In one of the documents in our possession, we discovered that some of the Directors named on the face of Forms CAC 7 of the aforementioned companies are fictitious and do not exist anywhere in the world.

As a matter of fact, Form CAC 7 of Rain Integrated Bureau De Change Limited was neither dated nor filed but fraudulently smuggled into the file of Corporate Affairs Commission as a mere cover up by one Barrister Patrick Lucas Uzum with Accreditation Number NBA/IND/1484.

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, has ordered that 86 luxury vehicles, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, belonging to a civil servant, Mr. Ibrahim Tumsah, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government. The luxury vehicles were allegedly seized from Tumsah, a director in the federal Civil Service.

Tumsah is said to be the Director of Finance and Account in the Federal Ministry of Power Works and Housing. All the 86 vehicles, 23 of which were said to be armoured, linked to him, were described by detectives as brand new. The court’s forfeiture orders also affected four houses, two of which are located in Wuse II; one in Wuse Zone 7, and the other in Jabi, all in Abuja.

Also to be forfeited to government by the court’s orders, is a quarry in Kuje, Abuja, which was said to have been seized from Tumsah. Eight containers, with household items, also seized from Tumsah, are affected by the court order.

The 86 vehicles, the landed assets and the other items were said to have been found on November 17, 2017, in a warehouse located on the premises of the house at 22 Igbani Street, Jabi Abuja.

Court papers obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday showed that Justice Muawiyah Idris of the FCT High Court made the interim forfeiture orders on December 6, 2017.

The judge made the orders following an ex parte application filed on November 23, 2017, by the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property on behalf of the Federal Government.

The panel was chaired by the former Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla.The judge granted the interim forfeiture order after the panel’s lawyer, Rimamsomte Ezekiel, argued the ex parte motion on December 6, 2017.

The court, in its ruling, granted the orders authorising the panel “to freeze” all the items listed in the schedule attached to the ex parte motion “pending full investigation on the serious criminal allegations that were brought against the respondents”, Tumsah and brother, Tijjani Tumsah.

But the judge also ordered that the panel’s ongoing investigation must be completed within three months.

Tumsah’s redeployment to the Accountant-General’s Office coincided with the multi-billion naira renovations of the Treasury House. It was also revealed that the contracts for the renovations were done under the cover of “Direct Labour” to cover up the heist.

Tumsah and Ahmed Idris were alleged to have engaged in contract splitting, registering several companies, using proxies to scale through the Bureau for Public Enterprise.Sources in the Accountant General’s Office claimed the multi-billion naira contract did not pass through any Ministerial Tender Board, MTB.

To avoid the procurement process, Idris was revealed to have created a Special Task Force in charge of the renovations and appointed Tumsah the Chairman of the Task Force.

“When Tumsah attained the mandatory retirement in office, to retain his service, the Accountant-General created the Special Task Force Office which took charge of the day-to-day running of the Director of Procurement who was pushed out of office to cover up the heist”, said our sources .

In May last year following the refusal of  Idris to leave office after he attained the mandatory retirement age of 60 years, the Coalition for Good Governance and the Rule of Law had vowed to occupy the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF, Ahmed Idris over his refusal to retire from service despite attaining the mandatory retirement age. 

The group also demanded the immediate resignation of Idris’ ally, Ibrahim Tumsah who was the Chairman of the Special Task Force, Treasury House ‘against known practices anywhere in the world’.

It would be recalled that AljazirahNigeria had earlier reported how the AGF was lobbying for his tenure extension. Idris, who turned 60 on November 25, 2020, had engaged the services of highly placed persons including governors, senators and emirs to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to give him an extension.

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Accountant-GeneralAhmed IdrisEFCC

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