A prosecution witness has told the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja how the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, compromised the Treasury Single Account, (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) to carry out massive fraud against government.
Idris, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu Usman are currently standing trial in a N109 billion fraud case before Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi.
The second defendant, Akindele, was a staff in the office of the AGF, and Technical Assistant to the first defendant.
Spokesman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Wilson Uwujaren in a statement yesterday reported the Chief Investigative Officer of the case and Prosecution Witness One, PW1, Chief Superintendent of the EFCC, CSE Hayatu Sulaiman Ahmed, as telling the court that Idris manipulated key units under his care like the TSA, GIFMIS and IPPIS to siphon public funds as he liked.
The stolen funds, according to the witness, were allegedly diverted into the construction of properties such as Gezawa Exchange Limited, Gezawa Integrated Farms, and Kano City Mall.
Hayatu Ahmed was quoted as saying: “We had cause to invite several individuals who had transactions with the Gezawa Commodity and Exchange Limited and found one Baita Ibrahim Kura of B I Kura Ibrahim, a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator based in Kano.
“We invited him and cautioned him and he voluntarily wrote a statement, claiming he made several payments like N208 million into Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz Bank.”
Baita Ibrahim, according to the prosecution witness, admitted to having paid the sum of N866 million to one Architect Mustapha Mukhtar of Marsc Construction Limited for the construction of Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited.
He said: “My lord, investigation showed that Ibrahim received United States dollars from the first defendant. We also found that agitation from the nine oil producing states, regarding derivation from the excess crude account, was tabled before the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and the committee came up with a figure of about $2.2 billion as what was due to the nine oil producing states, and this amount was to be deducted over a 60 months period on a quarterly basis.”
Hayatu Ahmed said N44.7 billion representing 11.5 per cent of the amount was set aside as gratification to some public officials to facilitate payments to the oil-producing states.
His words: “After the determination of this committee, my lord, some companies, Akindele and Co, a company owned by the second defendant, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, was presented under the guise of consultancy.
“My lord, until recently, the second defendant, Akindele was a staff in the office of the AGF and technical assistant to the first defendant. Investigation revealed that N84.39 billion was paid into Akindele’s bank accounts,” he told the court.
According to the witness, another transaction occurred on February 12, 2021, with N21 billion paid into the account.
He revealed that aside from the payment of money that was made on February 12, 2021, other payments were made on May 6, 2021, and between July 28, 2021, and November 5, 2021, amounting to N94.39 billion.
Hayatu further told the court that funds were shared with some groups, including the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) represented by one of its commissioners, Peace Akomas, former deputy governor of Abia State who allegedly collected N18.8 billion.
He claimed the money was withdrawn by Akindele and converted to US dollars and handed over to Akomas.
“The second group is the AGF group, and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion,” said the EFCC official.
“The third group, the Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars, and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.
“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group – Abdul’Aziz Yari, former Zamfara State governor.
“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” said the witness.
He told the court that all his disclosures were confirmed by the defendants in writing, in their statements admitting to having collected all the monies.
Also, properties purchased with the funds by the first and third defendants were traced to various locations in Abuja, Kano, and Minna in Niger State, Hayatu said.
Source: The Nation