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Ebonyi Speaker Arrested Over N60million Fraud

First Bank Nigeria

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Speaker of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Ogbonnaya Francis Nwaifuru.

Mr. Nwaifuru was picked up at about 11a.m. Friday at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, by operatives of the commission, after he ignored two previous invitations by the agency, the EFCC said in a statement.

The EFCC said Mr. Nwaifuru was first invited on October 20, 2015 to appear before the Enugu zonal office of the commission but did not respond to the invitation. A reminder letter was sent to him on November 19, 2015, which he also failed to respond to.

The lawmaker who is representing Izzi West state constituency in the Ebonyi State Assembly, allegedly diverted and misappropriated N60 million constituency project fund before his emergence as speaker.

As of press time, the speaker was still being grilled by operatives of the commission.

As speaker, Mr. Nwaifuru has no constitutional immunity against prosecution under the Nigerian Constitution.

His arrest came two days after operatives of the EFCC arrested three top officials of Imo State government for allegedly diverting N2 billion bailout fund given to the state by the Federal Government for payment of salary arrears of the state’s civil servants.

The suspects are: Obi Paschal Chigozie, principal secretary to the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha; Uzoho Casmir, director of finance and Iheoma Kenneth, treasurer.

Their arrest followed an investigation into the alleged diversion of the said money which revealed that the cashier had made cash withdrawal of N456.532 million between September 3, 2015 and October 10, 2015 from the Government House account domiciled in Zenith Bank.

However, it was revealed that the said amount was given to an aide of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, following approval and directive by the principal secretary to the governor.

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