The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to reopen the corruption cases of about 14 former governors and other top government officials.
The sums of money in the corruption cases involving the said former governors, their family members and some influential Nigerians are put at over N183 billion.
It would be recalled that in July 2016, the minister of Justice and attorney-general of the federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, had written to both the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practicies and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) requesting the case files of 31 former governors being investigated or prosecuted by the anti-graft agencies.
Leadership gathered that Senate President Bukola Saraki (former governor of Kwara State); a former governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sheriff, and Senate minority leader, Godswill Akpabio who was Akwa Ibom State governor are some of the names of people facing corruption charges.
Others are: former governors Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia), Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), and Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), James Ibori (Delta), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo) and Peter Odili (Rivers).
Of these corruption cases, according to a source, only the cases against former IGP Tafa Balogun and PDP stalwart, Bode George, were concluded.
A source said: “But the cases were not extensive in my opinion because if they were, more heads should have rolled. The pension thieves and subsidy cases should top the list, but they seem to have become secret cases of sorts, which no one is following up on anymore. But the commission will pursue these cases to the letter.”
“Since 2007 when most of these cases started, many of them are still at interlocutory stages. Some of the cases have gone as far as to the Supreme Court and are now back at the high courts where they started,” another source said.
On Tuesday, September 22, 2015 the EFCC arraigned former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, his two sons Aminu Sule Lamido and Mustapha Sule Lamido, Aminu Wada Abubakar and Batholomew Darlington Agoha.
They were docked before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 27-count amended charge bordering on corruption and money laundering.
Also, on Wednesday, July 9, 2015, EFCC made a string of simultaneous arraignments of four governors, their sons and other accomplices on charges of diversion of public funds.
The EFCC arraigned a former Adamawa State governor, Murtala Nyako, his son Abdulaziz and two aides, Zulkifk Abba and Abubakar Aliyu, before a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges of embezzlement of state funds.
The EFCC also arraigned former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, on a three-count charge in a different court for conspiracy and money laundering. The next adjourned date for trial is September 28, 2018 at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The EFCC had on Monday March 18, 2013 arraigned the former governor of Kogi State, the late Prince Abubakar Audu alongside a former director-general of the Directorate of Rural Development in his administration, Alfa Ibn Mustapha, before Justice A.O. Adeniyi of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
They were arraigned on a 36-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of over N10 billion.
A top official at the EFCC decried the slow pace of the cases, noting that the commission had already called three of four witnesses and is close to its final addresses on the matter.
Former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, had a rough time with the EFCC even before the end of his two-term tenure in 2007. His travails started when the anti-graft agency investigated the finances of Rivers State, and he was alleged to have diverted over N100 billion of the state’s funds.
The case was stalled when presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, heeded Odili’s request and granted a perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC from probing him.
Recently, EFCC chief executive, Ibrahim Magu, confirmed to the media that indeed the judge had granted perpetual injunction in Odili’s case and said the commission’s quest to appeal the matter was being frustrated by the Court of Appeal since 2008.
According to the EFCC, the case of Odili will be re-opened.
Another high profile case is that of the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, who was a former governor of Bauchi State.
Mu’azu has a pending case with the EFCC. His case borders on alleged mismanagement of N19.8 billion when he was governor between 1999 and 2007.
Former governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Dariye, has a running battle with the EFCC after he was alleged to have siphoned about N1.2 billion of the state’s Ecological Fund. He was being prosecuted on a 23-count charge of diversion of funds into private accounts and money laundering.
According to an EFCC document, he is also alleged to have diverted about N204 million meant for the state’s treasury to Ebenezer Retnan Ventures, ERV – a company linked to him.
Dariye’s ordeal with the EFCC began after he was unceremoniously removed as governor through impeachment by the state assembly.
Another governor facing a corruption case is Alhaji Saminu Turaki. According to the EFCC, Turaki is alleged to have misappropriated N36 billion. He is charged with criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds. Turaki was Jigawa State governor between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2007.
Up until now, his case with the commission, which began more than 10 years ago, is still pending in court. He was said to have broken down in tears when he was arraigned in court for alleged corrupt practices.
A former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, is being prosecuted alongside his former commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Hosea Agboola, and a businessman, Mr. Femi Babalola, for a N11.5 billion fraud in 2012.
Also, the EFCC accused the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, of diverting the state’s N5.6 billion while in office between 1999 and 2007. He was arraigned in July 2007 on a 107-count charge of money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds. His case is one of the cases that have gone as far as to the Supreme Court and is now back to the high court for trial.
Former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna, was dragged to court on a 28-count charge of fraud and embezzlement preferred against him and three others by the EFCC.
Also, a former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has also been accused of corruption by the EFCC. Daniel is being prosecuted for alleged mismanagement of state funds between 2003 and 2011. He is facing trial on a 38-count charge of stealing and fraudulent conversion of public property as well as false declaration of assets to the tune of N211.3million.
Stella Oduah, a serving senator, also has issues with the EFCC. She was a key member in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan as minister of Aviation.
She is being prosecuted by the EFCC over alleged purchase of two armoured BMW cars for N255million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on her watch. On August 26, 2015, she obtained an interim injunction stopping the EFCC from prosecuting her on the matter, a position the anti-graft agency challenged.
These and many cases, Leadership gathered, would soon be revisited by the EFCC.