The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has indicted the out- going Governor of Zamfara, Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Swindling the State to the tune of seventy billion naira under the guise of contract awards.
Director of Public Affairs of the Commission , Osita Nwajah who made this known said Matawalle’s recent outburst against EFCC was tantamount to corruption fighting back as the governor was under investigation for alleged corruption that bordered on Contract fraud and diversion of funds meant for the execution of projects in the Local Government Areas to the tune of seventy billion naira.
The money which was sourced as loan from an old generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the governor through proxies and contractors who received payment for contracts that were not executed.
The EFCC said its investigations so far revealed that more than 100 companies have received payments from the funds, with no evidence of services rendered to the state.
Some of the contractors who had been invited and quizzed by the Commission, made startling revelations on how they were allegedly compelled by the Governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him through his aides after converting the same to United States Dollars.
One of the contractors, a popular Abuja property developer, collected 6 billion naira on a 10 billion naira contract without rendering any service to Zamfara state. Another contractor collected over 3 billion naira for a contract for the supply of medical equipment but the Commission traced a payment of 400 million naira from his account to a Bureau de Change operator. The contractor confessed the payment was to procure the dollar equivalent allegedly for the State Governor.
As part of the extensive investigation of contracts awarded by the Matawalle administration, especially for phantom projects in the local government areas, EFCC’S Director of Public Affairs says the Commission has recovered a sum of 300 million naira from a company, Fezel Nigeria Limited. The funds were traced to the Zamafara Investment pointed out that the EFCC’s invest
Nwajah explained that the investigation was the source of anxiety in Government House, Gusau, with the Governor in mortal dread of his fate once he steps down as Governor on May 29.
He further added that in Nigeria, State Governors and their Deputies enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution while in office, a reason that has made the EFCC not to arrest Governor Matawalle yet.
The EFCC’s Director explained that the attack by the Governor did not come as a surprise to the Commission as it has become the trend for corrupt element to attempt to destabilize the Commission’s Leadership during periods of political transition.