Saturday, May 16, 2015

N172billion fraud cases against Ex-Governors turned Senators

Investigation by Saturday PUNCH has shown that over N172bn fraud cases are against some senators-elect who were formerly governors.

Over 15 ex-governors won senate seats in the March 28 election with many of them having cases of corruption ranging from misappropriation of public funds to money laundering hanging over their necks.

Some ex-governors have been in the senate before the last elections while a fresh set of former governors will be joining them when the new legislature is inaugurated on June 6, 2015 by the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

The list of the ex-governors elected as senators, who allegedly have fraud cases against them, whether old or new, include Bukola Saraki, Theodore Orji, Adamu Aliero, Sam Egwu, Joshua Dariye, Danjuma Goje and Abdullahi Adamu.

The immunity clause in Nigeria’s constitution protects the President, vice-president, governors and their deputies from prosecution while in office but even after these public office holders leave office, findings show that anti-graft agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have failed to pursue their cases to logical conclusions.

Former Ebonyi State Governor, Dr. Sam Egwu, recently won the parliamentary election to represent Ebonyi North Senatorial District in spite of the corruption charges levelled against him.

Egwu allegedly misappropriated close to N80bn while in office as governor between 1999 and 2007.

He was also said to have left a debt profile of N10bn for his successor.

Also, the former Governor of Nasarawa State, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, who was in office between 1999 and 2007, became a senator four years later. Since that time, Adamu has been returned to the position after subsequent elections.

However, his record with the EFCC is also allegedly unclean but that is as far as it goes.

In February, 2010, Adamu was arrested by the EFCC for alleged embezzlement of public funds. On March 3 of the same year, he was arraigned in court alongside 18 others on a 149-count charge of fraud involving over N15bn, but the case has continued to drag in court with no headway.

Interestingly, in an interview in February 2011, as the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate for Nasarawa West Senatorial seat, Adamu dismissed the EFCC case against him, describing it as “mere allegations.”

He boasted that the EFFC case would not affect his candidature and truly after the poll, Adamu emerged winner, beating his closest rival, Gen. Ahmed Aboki (retd).

Similarly, the former Gombe State Governor, Senator Danjuma Goje, and four others, were first arraigned in court on October 17, 2011 on conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges. He allegedly embezzled N52bn public fund.

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