This amount was to be deducted over a 16 months period, on a quarterly basis.
Details have emerged on how suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris; former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil-producing states and others pilfered about N84.7billion of $2.2 billion meant for the states.
Idris, one Godfrey Olusegun Akindele, and Mohammed Kudu Usman are standing trial over alleged N109 billion fraud.
Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Lagos and Abia are recognised as oil-producing states according to section 162, sub-section 2 of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to Hayatu Ahmed, Chief Superintendent of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), funds allegedly diverted by the suspended accountant-general were linked to properties such as the Gezawa Exchange Limited, Gezawa Integrated Farms, and Kano City Mall.
He disclosed this while testifying as the first prosecution witness in the suit filed against Idris, Akindele and Usman.
“We had cause to invite several individuals who had transactions with the Gezawa Commodity and Exchange Limited and found one Baita Ibrahim Kura, of BI Kura Ibrahim, a Bureau de Change operator based in Kano,” Ahmed had said.
“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.”
On how Idris, Yari and others illegally shared N84.7billion, the EFCC official said, “We found out that there was an agitation by nine oil producing states on the depletion of the excess crude account without the payment of their 13 per cent derivation fund.
“This agitation was tabled before the post-mortem sub-committee of the Federal Account Allocation Committee, FAAC. It was further revealed that the post-mortem sub-committee came up with a figure of about $2.2 billion as what was due to these nine states.
“This amount was to be deducted over a 16 months period, on a quarterly basis. 11.5 per cent of this figure, which is equivalent to N84.7 billion, was put aside for the payment of some public officials to facilitate this payment.
“Even after the determination of this amount by the post-mortem sub-committee, the service of Olusegun Akindele and Co. Ltd, a company belonging to the 2nd defendant, was procured under the guise of consultancy.
“N84.7 billion, which is 11.5 per cent, was paid to Akindele Olusegun and Co. through First Bank Plc. The sum of N84.39 billion equivalent to 9.84 per cent less bank charges, was what was shared among the various parties.
“We wrote a letter to First Bank Plc to get the statement of account of the company. From the statement of account, we found out that the first payment was on February 12, 2021. There was an accumulative payment of over N21 billion.
“Before the payment was made, the balance on the account was N451, 631 and the source of the payment was from FAAC’s Escrow account.
“Investigation revealed that this account was under the control of the 1st defendant (Idris) and the 3rd defendant (Usman) who was the director of the federation account in the office of the AGF.
“Aside from this payment on February 12, 2021, my lord, similar payment of the same amount of over N21 billion were made on May 6, July 28 and November 5, 2021, bringing it to a total of about N84.39 billion.
“Investigation further revealed that N18.8 billion was paid to a group known as Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
“This group was represented by one of the commissioners of the agency, in the person of Chris Akomas, a former deputy governor of Abia State. This amount was withdrawn and converted to US dollars by the 2nd defendant and handed over to Chris Akomas.
“The second group is the Accountant-General’s group which got a total of N18.01 billion, out of which the 2nd defendant, Mr. Akindele, gave the equivalent of N1.8 billion in US dollars to the 3rd defendant.
“Also from the money, N1.07 billion was transferred from Olusegun Akindele and Co’s FirstBank account to the Zenith Bank account of UYK Nigerian Ltd, on the instruction of the 1st defendant.
“Investigation established that UYK Nigeria Ltd is a company owned by a certain Usman Kansila, a known associate of the 1st defendant. The balance of N15.1 billion was converted to US dollars and handed over to the 1st defendant by the 2nd defendant.
“Upon investigation into why these payments were made, it was revealed that the funds were used in the construction of Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Ltd, located in Gezawa city in Kano State.
“The third group, which was called group of Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received 2.5 per cent equivalent of N21.4 billion.
“The amount was withdrawn by the 2nd defendant, Akindele, converted to US dollars and handed over to the same Chris Akomas on behalf of that group.
“The 4th group, called Yari group, received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Finex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group, Abdulaziz Yari, the former governor of Zamfara State.
“The remaining 1.054 per cent equivalent of N8.9 billion was retained by the 2nd defendant, Akindele. Furthermore, 0.5 per cent of the 1.054 per cent, equivalent of N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by the 2nd defendant and handed over to the 1st defendant as appreciation for the consultancy service.
“The balance of N4.6bn, representing 0.54 per cent was what was finally the share of the 2nd defendant, Akindele. My lord, we invited all the defendants, they reported and volunteered their statements under word of caution. They admitted receiving these monies and investigation is still underway to recover funds paid to Chris Akomas, ex-governor Yari and co.”