Sources in the EFCC had told this newspaper on Friday that it moved into Adamawa State and froze the government’s bank account as a precautionary measure to safeguard the state treasury amidst evidence of looting uncovered in the agency’s ongoing investigation.
The records obtained Saturday showed that the withdrawals were facilitated or made by key officials, including the Secretary to the State Government, the State Commissioner for Finance, former Commissioner for Local Government (now Commissioner for Higher Education), the Accountant General of the State and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government. Those officials have been arrested and quizzed.
The Adamawa State government had on Thursday raised the alarm that the federal government had frozen all the state’s bank accounts.
The move came amidst impeachment moves against Governor Murtala Nyako by the Peoples’ Democratic party, PDP-led members of the state’s House of Assembly.
The state’s lawmakers accused Mr. Nyako and Bala Ngillari, the Deputy Governor, of siphoning funds from the state’s treasury running into billions of Naira.
But the EFCC said its investigation was triggered by petitions alleging massive looting of the treasury by the governor and his cronies through an illegal department called Special Programme and Project Units, SPPU, which engaged in over invoicing and inflation of contract.
“In the course of investigation, a critical analysis of the Joint State/Local Government account reveals massive cash withdrawals,” a source at the commission told PREMIUM TIMES.
According to the source who did not want to be named because it was an ongoing investigation, the Permanent Secretary of Local Governments in the state made cash withdrawals of over N2 billion in 181 different transactions, scattered in tranches of N3 million, N4 million, N8 million and N9 million per transaction from the State/Local Government account domiciled with First Bank between 29th of August 2011 and 2012.
He also made similar cash withdrawals amounting to over N500 million between March 6, 2008, and March 4, 2011, from another Joint account domiciled in Keystone Bank, the source added.
“Other officials of the ministry who allegedly looted the Joint Account include Justina Jari, a Principal Accountant with the ministry who made cash withdrawals to the tune of N600 million from the Joint Account between October, 2009 and February, 2011.
“Another staff of the ministry, Abdulhakeem Mohammed was also alleged to have withdrawn about N3 billion from the account between February 2007 and May 2011. Two other staff, Mercy Wanje and Jumai Salihu were also said to have made withdrawals of N1 billion and N160 million from the account respectively,” the source said.
“On a single day, another staff called Haruna Hamali, a principal store officer made a cash withdrawal of over N70 million from the same account,” he said.
“The withdrawals were made and the money returned to top officials of the state government as narrated and confirmed by the officials who made the withdrawals.
“The state officials were arrested in connection with the withdrawals and other ongoing investigations,” the source added.
Wilson Uwujaren, spokesman of the EFCC, confirmed the freeze order, but declined to make further comments.
Find full details of the withdrawals below.