The eighth National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria parades a long list of suspected thieves more than the number any anti-graft agency can prosecute in one administration. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC have investigated a good number of the serving senators at one time or the other for embezzlement, money laundering, diversion of public funds and other criminal charges.
In fact, a total of 21 of the lawmakers including the senate president currently are involved in corruption cases that have reached various stages of trials in courts. SaharaReporters profiles these lawmakers with blemished records of public service. Saharareporters covered the first 10 in part one. Here is part two.
11. David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark
Former Senate President David Mark is reputed to be one of the most corrupt public officers in Nigerian history. The senator representing Benue-South in the upper legislative house is a retired army general who amassed a lot of wealth during the regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, another military autocrat with a history of corrupt self-enrichment.
Mark, a fifth –term senator, is one of the few Nigerians listed in #PanamaPapers, the report that reveals identities of clients of the most secretive companies in the world, registered through the law firm of Mossack Fonseca. The senator together with his wife, Vikky Preye Mark both laundered billion of dollars abroad. As Nigeria’s Minister for Communications in the 1980s, David Mark acquired a reputation for speaking in a gruff manner. His most notorious gaffe was a statement that telephones were not meant for poor Nigerians. The statement was in response to criticism of the scarcity of telephone lines as well as their high cost.
Mark was then at the peak of a flourishing military career that saw him amass an incredible personal wealth that would later define his life as a member of Nigeria’s most corrupt military elite that ran the nation with an iron hand from the early 1980s till mid-1990s. SaharaReporters has at different times documented the sleaze and roguery that characterized his tenure as the leader of the Senate.
The first of the deals that catapulted David Mark into questionable wealth came from a $77 million “telecommunications deal” which he brokered while he was Communications Minister under General Babangida. The gist was that Mark procured aircraft for the nation’s telephone company- NITEL- at highly inflated prices. Mark made an instant profit of $70 million which he shared with President Ibrahim Babangida in accounts opened in Jersey and Cayman Islands. From this single deal, David Mark had set aside the sum of £6 million in a “trust” for his children as well as invested in real estate for his numerous wives and children in the UK and Ireland. In a remarkable, if curious, decision, Mark also invested the sum of £5.9 pounds in the 18-hole St. Margaret’s Golf Club near Dublin, just a five- minute drive from the International Airport in Dublin, Ireland and also in an unnamed business in Northern Ireland which officially employed him while he was in the UK in exile.
He also bought a private house worth £2.5 million pounds on Kingston upon the Thames River in London.
Besides, David Mark hired a personal assistant in England to help manage his businesses in London and Ireland. He lived a life of legendary luxury, arranging for most of his kids to be born in the UK, Switzerland and other Western European nations. From kindergarten to college, most of his children also attended schools in Europe or in some of England’s priciest educational institutions.
According to records available to Saharareporters, David Mark has married six times, his last marriage being in Ghana in 1995 where he retains a massive investment of funds looted from Nigeria. His sixth wife also lives in London with his children. Apart from Ghana, David Mark also has investments in the Caribbean and the US and maintains hefty bank accounts in Switzerland, Cayman Islands, and Jersey.
12. Akume George
Senator Akume George was the Minority Leader of the Senate from June 2011 to June 2015 representing Benue North and West. He was a detainee of EFCC over an allegation of money laundering to the tune of N41billion. His kinsmen led by Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, former Lagos State Police Commissioner, then accused him of spending N5 billion on gifts and donations to friends of the administration in 2004, despite the fact that the state lacks motorable roads, pipe-borne water, health care facilities and other basic amenities.
13. Mohammed Goje Danjuma
Goje Danjuma, a senator representing Gombe Central is currently undergoing trial for stealing N5b. Danjuma Goje was the governor of Gombe State from 2003 to 2011. He is presently a second-term senator representing Gombe Central Senatorial District at the Nigerian Senate.
Aside from chairing the Senate Committee on Appropriations, he is the chairman of the North-East Caucus of the National Assembly. The senator, along with four others, is facing an 18- count charge bordering on conspiracy and fraud to N25bn instituted by the EFCC.
The case was transferred to Jos from Gombe in 2015 on the instruction of the Chief Justice of the Federation over security concerns.
14. Abdullahi Adamu
Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu was the governor of Nasarawa State from 1999 to 2007. He represents Nasarawa West Senatorial District and is the Chairman Senate Committee on Agriculture.
In Feb 2010, the EFCC arrested the lawmaker for allegedly misappropriating N15billion alongside 18 others.
He was subsequently arraigned on a 149-count charge of fraud to the tune of N15 billion before Justice Ibrahim Buba, a controversial high court judge, Justice Marcel Awokulehin later took over the case.
The lawmaker and his co-accused denied all the charges and challenged the jurisdiction of the court to try the case, arguing that the money in question belong to the people of Nasarawa State and therefore does not fall under the purview of the Federal Government and the EFCC to investigate and prosecute.
The court, however, ruled against the accused persons and ordered them to face trial. The lawmaker and his co-accused subsequently appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeal sitting in Markudi, Benue State. The case is yet to be concluded.
15. Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako
Abdulaziz Murtala Nyako, the son of former Governor Murtala Nyako, represents Adamawa Central Senatorial District in the Senate.
A first term Senator, he chairs the Committee on Special Duties, which oversees the general affairs of the Senate President, Ecological Fund, among others.
In July last year, the EFCC docked Abdulaziz and his father, Murtala Nyako the former governor of Adamawa State, at a Federal High Court in Abuja over cases of alleged corruption.
They were arraigned before Justice E. Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 37-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and abuse of office.
Also charged with them, were Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba. They were accused of using five companies to siphon over N15billion at various times, between 2011 and 2013, from Adamawa State coffers. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
16. Ahmed Sani Yarima
Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima is a three-term senator and former governor of Zamfara State. He represents Zamfara West Senatorial District in the Senate.
Yarima is the Chairman of Senate Committee on Marine Transport and a member of other committees, including the Senate Committee on Interior which oversees the police, prisons, immigration and the fire service.
In January 2017, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) at the Zamfara State High Court in Gusau docked him on a 19-count charge of corruption.
The commission accused him of diverting part of the N1 billion project funds for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and resettlement of the victims of flood to other purposes.
The alleged offenses were committed in 2006 and mainly in October and November of that year, according to ICPC. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
16. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso
Rabiu Kwankwaso representing Kano –Central was a two-term governor. The governor has been accused of embezzling N2 billion belonging to pensioners in the state. The former Governor allegedly deposited the sum of N2billion in Kano branch of defunct Euro Bank Plc, which later went into liquidation a few months later.
Senator Kwankwaso has relocated to Abuja since he handed over power to Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, and has reportedly left behind over N300billion liability that included N199 million in unpaid advert bills.
18. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko
Aliyu Wamako representing Sokoto North was a former governor of Sokoto State for eight years. The governor has been petitioned for embezzling over N14 billion. EFCC is yet to close in on the governor.
19 Sani Abubakar Danladi
Sanni Abubakar is a representative of Taraba-North; the former deputy governor of Taraba State was impeached over allegations of corruption when he was in office. EFCC arrested him in 2013 for diversion of public funds meant for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) projects. He reportedly spent the funds to establish a private school, Yagai Academy. The school is estimated to be worth N1.3billion.
20. Jonah Jang
Jang, the senator from Plateau-North senatorial district, was the former governor of Plateau State for two terms. He has been accused of looting N10 billion SURE-P fund belonging to the people of the state as well as N2 billion released to the state in April 2015 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Small and Medium Scale (SME) businesses in the state. His administration also failed to account for N6.1 billion received on behalf of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The governor was accused of using a proxy company, Darmatist Consult to siphon N982 million for helping his state recover N7.56 billion from Nassarawa state.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has ordered the reopening of corruption cases against Jang and other corrupt former governors in the country.
21. David Umaru
David Umaru, a Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District was a personal lawyer to the Abachas, who assisted the former dictator; Sanni Abacha launder money in offshore tax havens. He is one of the Nigerians with shady dealings exposed in the #Panamapapers. In documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES from the leaked Panama Papers, Senator Umaru incorporated two shell companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a notorious offshore tax haven, and in tiny South Pacific Ocean country, Niue Island.The first company, Yorkshire Investment Limited was incorporated on April 27, 1998, with a registered address at No2 Commercial Centre Square, Alofi, the capital of the Niue Island.The company was incorporated by International Trust Company (ITC), a Niue-based registering agent. In other to conceal the true ownership of the shell company, ITC provided two nominee directors for the company – Melvin Scales (Chairman) and Ramses Owens. And Umaru was named the true and lawful attorney of the company.