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EFCC interrogates Kwara SSG, Assembly Clerk over N400m ‘suspicious payments’, investigates content of four trucks from Govt House to ‘unknown destination’

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin Zonal Office, has commenced investigations into the alleged illegal payment of about N400 million to some members of the Kwara State House of Assembly and the State Executive Council members before the expiration of their tenures.

To this end, the anti-graft agency is currently interrogating the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Sola Isiaka Gold, and the Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Kperogi Halimat Jummai, over the alleged payment which did not follow due process.

It was gathered that all the 25 lawmakers and some members of the State Executive Council two weeks ago received about N400 million severance gratuity before the expiration of their tenure despite the fact that the State is owing workers about three months salaries.

The petitioner said even though the Lawmakers and members of the State Executive Council are entitled to severance payment, it was the next administration that was supposed to pay the money.

It was further alleged that the State Government with selfish intent, swiftly paid the money before the expiration of their terms.

More worrisome was the issue of furniture allowance running to hundreds of millions of naira according to the petitioner, which they wanted paid along with severance gratuity.

In a letter written by the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmed to the State Governor, it was confirmed that the Lawmakers were entitled to severance gratuity at the end of their tenure due to terminate on June 7, 2019.

The letter further stated that: “In accordance with the provisions of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMA & FC) Honourable Members are entitled to 200 percent of their annual basic salaries as their severance gratuity allowance at the end of their tenure of Office.”

Kperogi, who confirmed that the Lawmakers have received their severance gratuity, told EFCC operatives that the payment was approved by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.

Kperogi said: “In a meeting of the Principal Officers of the Kwara House of Assembly wherein I am scheduled to be the Secretary, held on 8th of May 2019, Issue of Severance Gratuity to the Honourable Members was raised, the principal officers were informed that the State Governor has approved the payment of the Severance Gratuity.

“At the meeting, I informed the House that his Excellency had approved the payment, adding that members were expected to be paid after the expiration of their tenure of Office. The House debated it and they overruled me.”

On the other hand, Gold wrote and sought for the approval of the severance gratuity and furniture allowances amounting to about N300 million of some members of the State Executive Council.

In a letter to the State Governor, dated May 8, 2019 Gold said: “Your Excellency, by virtue of the provisions of Kwara State remuneration of political and Public Office holders law, certain category of political and public office holders are entitled to severance and furniture allowances of their basic salaries respectively upon successful completion of tenure.”

According to the SSG, while the Lawmakers have received their monies, members of the State Executive Council are yet to receive their gratuity.

Meanwhile, the Commission is also investigating the pictures circulating in the social media which claimed that the government officials are packing four trucks full of loads to an unknown destination.

The store keeper of the State is being interrogated as at the time of this report.

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I was shocked when my name was missing on Buhari’s ministerial list- Adebayo Shittu

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Adebayo Shittu, the immediate-past Minister of Communication, says he was shocked when he found out his name wasn’t on the Ministerial list for the 2nd term of President Buhari.

Shittu who was the Minister of Communication in President Buhari’s first tenure, said he felt bad about his exclusion but he has since taken it in good fate.  President Buhari reappointed 14 former ministers and 29 new ones which included seven females, Shittu was part of 18 ex-ministers who did not make the list.

Speaking in an interview, Shittu said

“Of course, I expected that I will be reappointed (as minister) but when it didn’t happen, as a Muslim, it didn’t take me five minutes before I accepted that what has come, it’s the will of God. And I have also found comfort in a Quranic verse when God promised that what is to come later is better than what is with you now. So for me, it says we must accept that there is always something better with God which he gives to his beloved.

“I see myself as a beloved of God. I have come a long way and I have served at the state and national levels and the experience that I have garnered over the last three and half years cannot be purchased from the stores or from the market”. 

He was the youngest lawmaker at the age of 26 to be elected a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly in 1979.

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Crime

Arrest of 77 Nigerians for online fraud, a big scar on all of us- Presidency

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The Federal government has said that the recent arrest of 77 Nigerians by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for online fraud, is a big scar on all Nigerians.

Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, said this when he appeared on Channels TV on Sunday night, August 25. Shehu disclosed that the Federal government would issue executive orders and engage the National Assembly to pass new laws to put a stop to online fraud involving Nigerians.

“This is a double damage on every citizen of Nigeria. It is a big scar on all of us who go out of this country and are seen in this image that these our brothers have created and the whole nation is tainted.

For the government of President Buhari, what it means is that the government which has started its second term on the strong promises of reinvigorating the war against criminality including scams and corruption, the government is serious engaging in revamping all of the laws and infrastructure for fighting this sought of crime.

The government will generate and ask for new laws from the National Assembly and there will be new executive orders that will block some of the loopholes that are being exploited by some of these Nigerians who go out there and blackmail the country. The laws have got to change. These scams have to be tackled”he said

He stressed that this particular incident should not be used to tag all Nigerians as criminals.

 The actions of a few Nigerians is not the action of the whole of Nigerians. We are 200 million in this country and you are talking of just about 80 in this case. They will face the justice system in the US. If the Nigerian government is required for extradition or any other way, if it meets the requirements of our laws, they will be assisted to prosecute them and to face justice in the US” he said

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EFCC traces Atiku’s ‘laundered’ money to Obasanjo Presidential Library in Ogun State

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have reportedly visited the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, as part of the probe of ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s son-in-law and the 150 million euros cash-for-poll bribe scandal.

It was gathered that investigators went to the Library on August 8th to authenticate the claims by one of those under probe that he gave $140,000 (about N50 million) to one of the library officials. 

According to reports, the EFCC officials, accompanied by policemen, combed some offices at the former President’s Library. It could not be confirmed whether any document was taken away by the operatives, but nobody was arrested.

“Our operatives went to the library with some riot policemen in anticipation of a possible resistance. But there was none.We did our job lawfully without any inhibition. We are still investigating the case. We are screening some documents in our possession on the matter, ” an EFCC investigator told The Nation.

The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library was opened on March 4, 2017. It is a historic, tourist and academic centre established as a national archive for the preservation of documents and materials used by the President during his tenure between 1999 and 2007.  

Atiku’s son-in-law Abdullahi Babalele is being investigated alongside others for allegedly laundering €150 million. The money was believed to have been spent to influence the 2019 election in which Atiku was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate.  About €67, 950,000 was traced to ex-VP Atiku’s associate Uyi Giwa-Osagie’s account, Babalele’s account, two slush firms and two Bureau de Change operators.  

Babalele is expected to account for 41,900,000 euros. According to reports, Babalele gave about N50million ($140,000) to his childhood friend, Bashir Mohammed to deliver to an official at the Presidential Library in Abeokuta. The anti-graft agency is investigating why the money was taken to the Presidential Library.    

Bashir has reportedly admitted that he delivered the cash to the Presidential Library.  It was learnt that Bashir was taken by detectives to the Presidential Library.  Those interrogated including Babalele, Osagie and Mohammed, are on administrative bail pending the filing of a case against them.”

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