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Anti-graft Agency, ICPC To Investigate Buhari’s Aide, Bashir Ahmad’s Alleged Multi-million Naira Payroll Fraud


Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on new media, Bashir Ahmad.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) says it has begun initial findings into the federal payroll fraud allegedly committed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide on new media, Bashir Ahmad.

According to the anti-graft agency, Ahmad’s action had been brought to the commission’s attention by way of HEDA Resource Centre, a public-interest think-tank run by anti-corruption campaigner Lanre Suraju.

“We received a complaint and we have commenced an investigation,” ICPC spokeswoman Azuka Ogugua confirmed to People’s Gazette on the telephone.

“Our investigation is preliminary at this stage in order to establish accuracy of the information we received and then we take it from there.”

Ogugua did not immediately give a timeline of her agency’s investigation, but an anti-graft official familiar with the matter said Ahmad would soon be invited for questioning about the fraud.

The HEDA’s petition was triggered by the newspaper’s report of August 15, 2022, which detailed how Ahmad defrauded Nigerian taxpayers to the tune of millions after leaving office as a presidential media aide.

Ahmad had said he had resigned from office in May 2022 in order to seek the ruling party’s House of Representatives ticket in his home, Kano State.

Despite confirming his resignation by de-emphasising his employment at the Nigerian presidency, Ahmad continued receiving salaries through May, June and July, until he was exposed by The Gazette’s report.

He received at least N3,129,530.64 in fraudulent basic earnings, with his allowances and estacodes within the same period likely many times the salaries.

Ahmad, who was earlier this month reappointed by Buhari after failing to qualify to stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections, said he refunded the illicit payments in full to the federal coffers for the months he was not an official.

But he failed to supply evidence of the reimbursement or clarify what actions he took after receiving the first, second and third salaries, as well as federal allowances and estacodes, despite being a private citizen.

Buhari has not disclosed what he knew about Ahmad’s theft, which appeared in line with his action of keeping silent whenever his aides are caught in corruption.

The ICPC said it was aware of Nigerians’ relentless demand for Ahmad’s investigation and prosecution for stealing from the federal purse at a time of rising poverty and strikes by several public sector unions as a result of the government’s inability to meet its financial obligations.