EFCC Investigates 14 Ex-Governors, 8 Ex-Ministers, and 5 Senators for Alleged Fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is now looking into fourteen previous governors for possible fraud.
Eight former ministers, special advisers, and five senators have also been named in the alleged N21.63 trillion and $47.4 billion fraud over the last 15 years.

Meanwhile, the anti-corruption office is looking into 73 more suspects from the three categories.

A research claims that men were implicated in a N7.9 trillion and $17.8 billion fraud, while women were tied to N8.9 trillion and $20 billion.

Corporate entities contributed N4.2 billion and $9.6 billion.

The alleged fraud (N21.63 trillion) is nearly equivalent to the Federal Government’s 2023 budget of N21.83 trillion and the Federal Government’s Ways and Means debt of N22.7 trillion owed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In response to the report, Justice Richard Goldstone (retd), a former Justice of the South African Constitutional Court and a member of the Board of a non-governmental organization that advocates for the establishment of a permanent International Anti-Corruption Court, stated that it is critical that the trials of those charged be pursued with vigour and efficiency.

According to the 77-page document released by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, also known as the HEDA Resource Centre, of the 100 cases considered, the EFCC handled 79, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences (ICPC), 13, the SPIPRPP, and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), one each, and the CCT handled none.

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The years of documentation range from 2007 to 2022.

The publication, titled ‘A Compendium of 100 High-Profile Corruption Cases in Nigeria,’ was published on November 22, 2022.

It is in its sixth edition and is financed by the MacArthur Foundation.

63% of the 63 corruption cases involve fraud, 20 (20%) money laundering, 6 (6%), corruption, 5 (5%), theft of funds, 4 (4%), embezzlement, and 1 (1%) each of bribery and forgery.

The majority of the cases, 61, are said to be ongoing as of the date of publishing (November 22, 2022), with 10 pending, two dismissed, 11 sentenced, and one’s property taken, while two cases are halted.

There were another 12 convictions, some of which were later overturned by higher courts.

One case is still under investigation.

The document adds that the cases involving all 14 previous governors are either continuing or pending, with nine being pending.

In addition, 16 other government officials’ cases are underway, with 10 more pending.

According to the report, the monies involved in 88 of the cases are less than N100 billion, while four are between N100 billion and N200 billion.

The audit also indicates a considerable disparity in charge distribution.

The majority of the past governors are facing fraud, money laundering, and misappropriation of funds allegations.

The quantities involved were likewise very different.

For example, while the 14 former governors and 36 other defendants were individually involved in less than N100 billion in alleged corruption cases, two former Ministers/Special Advisers were implicated in almost N700 billion, which the study regarded as astonishing.

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Similarly, among the 100 corruption cases examined, 2022 had the greatest rate of case origination (24%), while 2017 had the lowest (7%).

It was also discovered that there was no significant difference between the amounts involved in the cases and their status.

For example, 36 of the 100 cases analyzed with values less than N100 billion are ongoing, while 20 are pending.

Nine cases were dismissed, and eight offenders were sentenced.

Four people who were first convicted were later released by a higher court.

Three of the cases were resolved through plea bargaining, while the remaining five are currently being investigated.

The document’s Preface, authored by Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of the HEDA Governing Board, outlined the motivation for the study.

“The motivation for this compendium in 2017 was drawn from the major concern for the cascading morality in society with various sickening forms,” Suraju stated.

“It became a common habit commemorating persons known for corruption and financial crime offences in the country such that those guilty are not only cherished and honored and elevated by social and religious institutions, but societies also elect them into otherwise respectable offices”.

The HEDA Chair noted that the 2019 elections still saw the election of suspects in corruption and financial crimes as governors in some states, saying, “Obviously, the proceed of crime is used by suspected politically exposed persons to purchase immunity from prosecution and delay the trial to escape public attention and possible justice”.

During the course of collating the cases, he mentioned threats/harassment, as well as accolades and intimidation.

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“Researching, documenting, and releasing this compendium has remained a great feat for us at HEDA Resource Centre in the face of threats and harassment,” he says.

“We have gotten outstanding and remarkable accolades for the unique and daring step implicit in the publication, as well as criticism and threats from individuals affected by the audacity of this action.

“Our overarching goal, as stated from the start, was not to convict any of the defendants. Rather, this is to document and aid the public, the media, particularly those with a talent for insightful backgrounding, and researchers with information readily available for quick reference.

“Remarkable achievement of the compendium as we progress was the use by international law enforcement authorities in the United Kingdom and the United States as backdrop for investigation into various corruption and illicit assets recovery cases for Nigeria”.

On why it should be 100 cases, Suraju said: “We are mindful of cases under the criteria of corruption and financial crimes, but concentrates on only 100 for the publication as promised since inception with substitution of certain previously published and determined cases with some recent cases”.

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