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Ex-gov may lose 29 duplexes as ICPC seizes 97 properties, freezes, 1, 233 accounts

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 Ex gov may lose 29 duplexes as ICPC seizes 97 properties freezes 1 233 accounts

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has seized no fewer than 97 properties from different individuals in the past four years.

The list of seized assets include 33 buildings, plots of land and a factory forfeited to the Federal Government by a former accountant with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Dr Jimoh Olatunde.

The anti-graft agency disclosed these in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Olatunde is the prosecution witness in a case of official corruption and abuse of office brought against Prof Dibu Ojerinde, a former head of the National Examination Council and later JAMB registrar.

READ ALSO : Commotion as EFCC operatives invade ex-governor’s hotel

The ex-JAMB accountant was believed to have acted as proxy for Ojerinde.

The ICPC in an 18-count accused Ojerinde of diverting public funds estimated at about N5.2bn while he was the head of NECO and JAMB.

Olatunde, who was also the Deputy Director and Head of Treasury, NECO, revealed how Ojerinde allegedly diverted N341.9m from the examination body to set up a personal printing press, school and buildings.

The witness, who testified before the High Court of Niger State, Minna, told the trial judge, Justice Abdullahi Mikailu, that N216,297,443 was deceitfully withdrawn from NECO account for payment for 17 fictitious printing contracts, which were used for establishing the printing press.

Also, no fewer than 1,233 bank accounts have been frozen by the anti-graft commission between 2019 and now.

However, 60 of the accounts belonging to 15 persons, who were investigated for corruption, have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

The accounts contained N547.7m and $669,248.89 in total.

A former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, lost $669,248.89 and N24,289,910.89 to the Federal Government.

The money was lodged in Yari’s two personal accounts and the accounts operated by his companies, BT Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited and Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

The sums of N217,388,040 and $311,872 found in a bank account and another N11,159,674.80 and $301,319.99 kept in an account of a company were also forfeited to the government.

Also, the ICPC has placed under interim forfeiture 29 duplexes in different estates in Jabi, Maitama, Kaduna, Zamfara and Abuja allegedly belonging to the ex-governor, who is currently on trial for corruption.

The ICPC had accused Yari, a two-term governor, of not being truthful in his assets declaration.

It accused him of diverting Zamfara State’s funds, using some companies.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, subsequently granted a motion by the ICPC seeking permanent forfeiture of the funds.

It could not be ascertained if Yari had appealed the forfeiture order as his lawyer, Mahmoud Magaji, could not be reached for comments on Saturday. He did not respond to calls and he had yet to reply to an SMS sent to his mobile telephone.

The ICPC stated that its motivation for seeking the orders was because “the victim of the alleged crime is the Zamfara State Government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria and innocent taxpayers, which include judges of courts across Nigeria.”

The commission in the accompanying letter to the FoI request dated September 27, 2022 and signed by the Director, Legal Services, Henry Emore, stated, “Funds in the 60 accounts operated by different banks have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the funds transferred to the ICPC Recovery Account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria for onward transmission to the Consolidated Revenue Fund since the victim in these cases is the Federal Government.”

 

(PUNCH)

 

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