Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fraudsters dupe ex-gov N3bn...In bid to avert EFCC trial...3 other former govs, senator also fall victimFrom MURPHY GANAGANA, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), has revealed how a
former state governor, who was arrested and
arraigned for alleged misappropriation of
public funds, parted with a whopping N3
billion to a syndicate of fraudsters in a bid to
avert his trial.
Three ex-governors, a senator and some
members of the House of Representatives
involved in cases handled by the anti-graft
commission have also lost huge sums of
money amounting to over N100 million in
some instances to the same syndicate
allegedly led by a high profile personality who,
however, was not named.
EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi, who
declined revealing the identities of the four
ex-governors and other victims of the
syndicate, said yesterday that three suspects
who claimed to be acting on behalf of some
top officials of the agency in swindling their
unsuspecting victims had been arrested, while
detectives were on the trail of their leader.
Babafemi, who gave the hint at the
commission’s head office in Abuja while
parading two other fraudsters including a
young man of 22 years, expressed shock on
how a high profile victim of one of the
suspects whose case had since been charged to
court over a pension scam, doled out the sum
of N50 million to one Alhaji Mohammed al-
Amin, to halt his trial.
Although Babafemi naming the accused
person in the pension scam who was allegedly
duped by al-Amin, the suspect eventually
opened up and gave his name as Dr. Shuaibu
Sani, who he claimed contacted him to assist
in aborting his ongoing trial which had
become a major hitch to the realisation of his
gubernatorial ambition in Kogi State.
“This man embezzled pension funds in
Nigeria. I don’t know him before. He called
me and said he is a governorship aspirant in
Kogi State; he is in court now. He is Dr.
Shuaibu Sani. He came to me in Kaduna in
company with one of my neighbours and told
me he had spent over N100 million on his
gubernatorial ambition and the party
primaries is not being held, and that I should
help him. He wanted somebody to link him
up, that the Kogi State governor already has a
candidate of his choice who had compiled a
dossier on him and sent to the EFCC. That
was how the incident happened,” al-Amin
said in his response to reporters’ questions.
Shortly thereafter, a mild drama played out as
the suspect exchanged hot words with the
EFCC spokesman over the circumstances
surrounding his involvement in an auction
scam for which he was also being investigated
by the anti-corruption agency.
Al-Amin, described by Babafemi as a super
fraudster who at various times had claimed to
be a blood relation of powerful personalities in
the country including the late president
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, vehemently denied
the allegation but said he was close to Vice
President Namadi Sambo, whose wife he
claimed, was his student in 2004.
The suspect allegedly claimed having close ties
with the Sambos in an attempt to swindle
some politicians in Kaduna. He was said to
have offered to assist them in securing
auction bids at the EFCC when there was no
such exercise going on in the agency.
But in his account of how he got involved in
the botched deal, al-Amin claimed he had
approached the vice president for assistance
on the issue and was later called on telephone
by his (Sambo’s) wife, who sought to know if
an auction was actually going on at the
“Some group of politicians in Kaduna came to
me and said they had assisted during the
Goodluck Jonathan/Sambo election
campaign, and wanted something like
auction in the EFCC. So, I went to the vice
president and told him that these people need
your help. Later, after two days, the wife of
the vice president called me and told me that
the Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida was
going to call me and she called me there and
She (Farida) told me, you said there is
auction in my EFCC, there is no auction; I
told her I didn’t say there is action going on;
that these people came to me and said an
auction was in the offing, that they have
registered and completed all the due process.
So she said I should text her the name of the
company, that if it is true that it is registered
and had followed all the due process and is
lucky, it will get. I didn’t call Farida; why
should you say I called her,” he querried.
Al-amin, however, insisted that he had
maintained a close relationship with vice
president Sambo over a long period and
indeed, taught his wife before he became
governor of Kaduna State and later, the
number two man in the country.
His words: “I know the vice president. I have
been teaching Namadi Sambo’s wife from
2004 before he became governor, before he
became vice president and I have nothing to
do. I taught her in a school called Adis-Adis
Koran. Go and see my house; my house is less
than N5 million, it is not even my house. It is
a house we inherited; we are two. But I had
never said I am one of the Yar’Aduas, or that
I am their cousin.”
Also yesterday, the EFCC paraded 22-year-old
Mr. Fidelis Tule, a Tiv from Benue State, who
allegedly attempted to defraud two unnamed
persons of N18,000 each, on the pretext of
securing employment for them at the anti-
graft commission.
Babafemi said in his bid to convince his
victims, the suspect who was in possession of a
fake EFCC staff identity card bearing his
name and the rank of a Senior Crime Officer
3, had printed employment forms which he
claimed, were issued by the commission.

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