… Gov’s Aides Avoid Response
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately commence investigation on Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, over revelations of laundering billions of Naira made by a civil society group, the Anti-Corruption Network.
The party also called on Governor Bello to speak out on allegations of putrid deals including allegedly using certain officials of the Kogi State government as well as private individuals and firms to “siphon, launder and cart away billions of naira” meant for the development of Kogi state.
The PDP, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, asserted that the revelations by Anti-Corruption Network ostensibly explain why the people of Kogi state have been impoverished and why no concrete development has taken place since the emergence of Yahaya Bello as governor of the state.
“Governor Yahaya Bello is demanded to provide answers to revelations made by the anti-graft body, which is in the public domain, that he has been laundering billions of naira in several tranches through award of contract to ‘non-legal persons’ as well as ‘inactive companies’ with no transaction descriptions and due process certification.
“The APC poster boy should answer to revelations by the Anti-Corruption Network that he laundered over N3.7 billion through one Abdulsalami Hudu; in addition to billions of naira allegedly laundered through other individuals including certain, Umar Comfort, Jimoh Aminu, Philip Salau, Bello Ibrahim among others.
“Also, Gov Yahaya Bello should answer to allegations by the Anti-Corruption Network that he siphoned billions of naira through award of contracts, without due process, to Southbridge Integrated Services Limited to the tune of N624 million, in addition to five other companies which allegedly got between N22 million N129 million respectively.
“It is indeed disheartening that such funds were monies meant for infrastructural development, provision of healthcare, education facilities, road construction, payment of salaries and pension and other benefits, which have been deprived the people since the inception of the Bello administration.
“Against this background, our party calls on the EFCC, under its new leadership, to immediately commence investigation by inviting all those mentioned in the report as well as prosecute any individual or company indicted in the matter,” the party said.
The PDP also urged the EFCC to equally commence investigation on the activities of Governor Yahaya Bello as well as the books of his administration, with a view to prosecute him immediately he leaves office at the end of his tenure, if indicted.
The PDP insisted that nobody should be allowed to hide under the cover of immunity to get away with criminal pillaging of public resources entrusted into his or her hands.
“It also instructive to state that the immunity clause, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), does not prohibit the investigation of a sitting governor or the prosecution of his aides, officials or cronies, who were used to steal public funds,” the party said.
In the meantime, a group of Civil Society Organisations in Kogi State, Progressives Mandate Movement (PMM) and the Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) has called on the anti-graft agencies to investigate the Governor for financial crimes against the people of the State.
In a statement, the PMM Chairman, Comrade Musa Enejo Stephens, on Thursday in Lokoja, urged the EFCC to hasten investigation into alleged financial mismanagement in the confluence state perpetrated under the watchful supervision of the governor.
“Yahaya Bello’s government has blindfolded the people of the State with series of lies since all this while on the allocation accrued to the State from Federation Account and as well mismanaged the huge resources accrued to the State which is against the spirit of openness, fairness, justice and accountability promised the people by All Progressives Congress APC led administration of President Muhammadu Buhari government.
“Governor Bello has plunged Kogi State into debt regime which the State may not recover from, in the next 10 years and Mr. Governor failed to give tangible explanations on how funds from federation account like; State allocation, Local Government, Allocation, Paris Refund, Bailouts Funds and Internally Generated Revenue accrued to the State and other,” the group said.
The PPM Chairman also charged the newly appointed EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to justify his appointment by ensuring that the commission prosecutes those involved in crimes earlier detailed by the ACN petition.
Recall that the former Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, had earlier in the week, and on behalf of the ACN petitioned the EFCC, ICPC, Transparency International, US Ambassador to Nigeria and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria over “financial recklessness, corruption, money laundering and fraudulent application of Kogi State’s resources” by Governor Bello and his cronies.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi Stated government, Mohammed Onogu asked for the report being written by Nairalovers as basis for response.
He ignored further calls and text messages to his phone.
Nairalovers also reached out to the state commissioner for information, Kingsley Fanwo, who neither responded to text messages sent to his phone or calls made to his line.
Also note that this post does not reflect the views of Nairalovers.