Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum diverted N500 million from the recent Paris Club refund to pay off his loan, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) source revealed to SaharaReporters on Tuesday.
According to the source, Mr. Yari withdrew N500m from the N19 billion Paris Club refund allegedly diverted to a special account of the Nigeria Governors Forum from the N522b allocated to the 36 states and deposited the sum into a mortgage bank account.
Nigeria's anti-graft agency, EFCC, also told The Nation, “Of the N19 billion, we discovered that a consultant brought by the North-West governor was paid N2.2 billion. From the N2.2 billion, the governor got N500 million.”
Mr. Yari then transferred the sum to the mortgage bank from which he had borrowed N800m to purchase to properties in 2013. According to the source, the governor was able to renegotiate his debt from N800m to N500m.
The EFCC, however, traced the sum, knowing it was connected to Mr. Yari and the Paris Club loan. The mortgage bank then forfeited the N500m to the EFCC.
News of the Zamfara State governor’s embezzlement comes just one day after SaharaReporters revealed that Senate President Bukola Saraki was being investigated by the EFCC for his role in the embezzlement of N3.5b from the Paris Club loan through the slush fund placed at the Access Bank by the Nigeria Governors Forum, who claimed it was meant for consultants.