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EFCC Interim Report Unveils N12.7 Billion Misappropriation Scandal at Rural Electrification Agency

March 15, 2024

Former Managing Director and Associates Implicated in Massive Fraud Scheme……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An interim report released by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has exposed a staggering misappropriation of approximately N12.7 billion within the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The investigation, which implicates former Managing Director Salihijo Ahmad and his management team, sheds light on a web of corruption and deceit that has rocked the agency to its core.

Among the damning revelations are the discovery of 37 bank accounts linked to Salihijo Ahmad’s Bank Verification Number (BVN), in stark contrast to his claims of only two accounts on his asset declaration forms. The accounts, comprising 14 corporate, 21 personal, and 2 under the name of Bilkisu Salihijo, point to a deliberate effort to conceal illicit financial activities.

Further exacerbating the situation, it was revealed that senior officials of the agency embezzled N300 million under the guise of a training program, awarding contracts worth the same amount to two companies owned by the same individual. Additionally, the misappropriation of N12.4 billion in COVID-19 funds, meant for rural solar power lighting, underscores the egregious nature of the fraud.

The EFCC’s investigation uncovered a culture of coercion within the agency, with contractors forced to pay kickbacks for monitoring and evaluation services, which often ended up lining the pockets of senior staff. Moreover, payments totaling N728.9 million to external consultants were deemed unnecessary, as they were “channels for stealing and diversion of public funds majorly because by virtue of the job roles of certain staff of the agency being zonal coordinators, project department as well as monitoring and evaluation department. Furthermore, highlighting the rampant abuse of public funds.

Perhaps most alarming is the revelation that N1.2 billion was siphoned off by eight staff members in the agency’s account department, with the Director of Finance and Accounts at the helm of the illicit operation.

“Upon receipt of the said funds, the Director of Finance and Accounts instructed his allies to purchase various choice properties and assets being plots of land, houses and a car in his favour.

The Director of Finance and Accounts also directed one Usman Kwakwa to convert the total sum of (N159,608,464.38) to United States Dollars; this he did using two Bureau De Change Operators namely Laba Ibrahim and Ahmed Musa.

Usman Kwakwa also transferred various sums of monies totalling (N115,749,000.00) to some senior staff and management of the agency.The Director of Finance and Accounts benefitted over (N414,346,343.51) from the loot.”

Recovered Assets by EFCC:

  • N246 million
  • A duplex building in Karsana, Abuja
  • An uncompleted filling station along Kaduna road, Abuja
  • Three landed properties in Kaduna State.
  • Three plots of land in Lafia
  • one plot of land in Mararaba, Nasarawa State
  • A landed property worth 46 million from one of the 16 suspects.

In response to these revelations, the EFCC has initiated recovery efforts, with N30 million already recovered from the training program scam and several suspects committing to refunding a total of N201 million. The recovered assets, including cash and properties, serve as a sobering reminder of the extent of the corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The implications of this scandal are far-reaching, casting a shadow over the integrity of government agencies and underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive reforms in Nigeria.

 

Credit: Journalist KC/X

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