Alleged N1bn payroll fraud: Court seizes university accountant, others’ assets

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the request by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for the temporary forfeiture of funds and other assets linked with a staff in the Account Department of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto and two others.

The ICPC claimed that the Usmanu Danfodiyo University staff – Lukumanu Sani Waziri – manipulated data of fellow civil servants on the Federal Government’s Integrated Financial Management System (GIFMIS) to divert funds estimated at about N1b, allegedly using bank accounts belonging to an auto dealer, Monday Adejo Michael (of Monax Motors Ltd) and a staff of the Court of Appeal in Sokoto, Jamilu Umar Inusa.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling on March 29, 2021 granted the order for interim forfeiture of the property including. landed assets, funds in bank, vehicles and household items after ICPC’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha moved an ex-parte motion he filed to that effect.

Justice Ekwo ordered the ICPC to publicise the forfeiture order to enable those interested in the affected property to appear before the court to justify their ownership and why the assets should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The ICPC, in a supporting affidavit, stated that its officials discovered Waziri’s activities after closely monitoring the operation of the GIFMIS in the Usmanu Danfodiyo University. It claimed the Wasiri used the password of an individual, ‎Bungudu Sani Aliyu, accredited to access the GIFMIS platform.

It added: ‎”The commiasion’s staff, while monitoring the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform during the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown observed movement of funds to suspicious persons and companies, particularly from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, hence an intelligence was raised.

“Sequel to the observation of movement of funds from the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), particularly, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, the commission lunched a preliminary investigation activities.

“In the course of preliminary investigations, it was discovered that the first respondent (Waziri) was alleged to have manipulated the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) to divert over hundreds of millions through bank accounts of cronies which includes individual and corporate accounts.

“The accounts to which the alleged funds of almost a billion naira were diverted to have since been placed on restrictions to avoid dissipation of the funds in line with extant laws.”

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