The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said it had launched an investigation into alleged diversion of over N551 billion by a former Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji and his son, Chinedu, while serving as the governor of the state, This Day reports.
The anti-graft agency said it commenced the investigation in response to a petition by a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group, alleging that the former governor diverted various sums of money that accrued to the state government.
In a petition made available to the media by the EFCC, the funds include N383 billion revenue from federal accounts, N55 billion excess crude revenue, N2.3 billion Sure P funds and N1.8 billion ecological funds.
Other monies allegedly diverted are N10.5 billion loan from First Bank Plc through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, N4 billion loan from Diamond Bank, N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion agricultural loan for farmers and N55 billion ASOPADEC funds.
The petition alleged that the Orji-led administration received the funds, though there were no commensurate projects on ground to match the received funds.
In response to This Day inquiry yesterday, spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade confirmed receiving the petition. He said that the anti-graft agency had started investigating the former governor, saying the investigation “is ongoing.” Under Nigerian law, an accused person remains innocent until he has been found guilty.
The petition alleged that Theodore Orji, who was a Chief of Staff to his convicted predecessor, Dr. Orji Kalu, was the authorising officer drawing N500 million monthly purported to be security vote, which were allegedly diverted.
The petition alleged that when he became the governor in 2007, Theodore Orji continued “to withdraw the N500 million cash monthly from June 2007 to May 2015. “The N500 million is not part of the security funds expended on the Nigerian Police, The Nigerian Army, DSS, Navy anti-Kidnapping Squad, anti- robbery Squad, purchase of security equipment and vehicles for the security agencies,” the petition said.
The anti-graft agency later extended the investigation to his family members to ascertain the link and culpability of the ex-governor’s first son, Chinendum Orji Eyinanya, who is currently the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly.
EFCC also said it had discovered about 100 accounts in different banks, with over 80 percent of the accounts still very active. The accounts, which were both corporate and individual, received so much deposit in cash without evidence of job or services rendered.
The EFCC investigation revealed that Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805 was traced to Chinedum.
“The company received deposit of $20, 849, 044.21. The same company with another account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
“Fotoworld has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229, $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939 between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.”
The EFCC probe showed that the GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 billion between February 2009 and July 2014.
Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805, also traced to Chinedum, received deposit of $20, 849, 044.21.
The same company with account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
The same company, Fotoworld, has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229 with $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 with the same bank housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939 with the same bank, between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.
The investigation also showed that Exact Construction Limited, traced to Chinedum, is believed to have no record of any construction work in the country; also received humongous deposits in Keystone Bank where account was opened.
Between October 2008 and February 2015, the company account number 005374800 had deposits of N1, 188, 924, 190.41. Another deposit of N636, 372, 642.85 into Exact Construction Limited, Keystone Bank account number 1001538949.
The GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 between February 2009 and July 2014. The FBN account number 2008232908 also received lodgement of N599, 771, 424.25 between January 2011 and June 2016; account number 200823298 had N731, 135, 357.04 between 2007 and 2016.
“Fotofast Industry Limited is another company registered by the first family to siphoned the resources of the state. Several accounts were opened in FBN by the company.
“The sum of N20, 861, 165.95 entered into the FBN account number 2014629152 between 2011 and 2017. Between 2011 and 2016, another N223, 929, 515.37 was lodged in Fotofast’s account number 2015559102 domiciled in FBN”, findings revealed.
2 Nurses, One Doctor Allegedly Test Positive For COVID-19 In Abuja Hospital
Two nurses and a doctor have reportedly tested positive for Coronavirus at a government hospital in Abuja.
SaharaReporters reported that a senior medical worker at the hospital who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the infected health workers were part of medical personnel that attended to an infected person brought into the hospital.
“The patient was rushed to the hospital and as our job demands, we have to save life first and that was what we did. The person was attended to and stabilised by the medical team. A test was soon conducted and the result came out positive. The hospital thereafter asked all those who attended to the patient to undergo tests to determine their status and at the end of the day, two doctors and one nurse tested positive for the virus. They are currently in isolation at the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital.”the source said
The Senior Health worker accused the Federal government of not providing medical workers with quality Personal Protective Equipment among other gears needed to protect themselves as they attend to patients with the infectious disease.
“The unfortunate thing is that the government is not providing us with what to work with. It is sad that our PPE is not up to the world standard and can be penetrated by viruses. Some of us (health workers) have to use our personal funds to purchase gloves as we do not trust the ones government supplied. Nigerians should please remember us in their prayers and the government should provide us with what we really need to work,” the source said.
29 Soldiers Died In Boko Haram Ambush — Army
29 soldiers died during last week’s ambush of troops at Goniri and Gorgi by Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), Nigeria Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu has said.
The military had earlier told reporters that initial information available indicated that 47 soldiers were killed in the attacks that occurred on March 22 and 23, noting that further verification would be given after stocks must have been taken at the bases of troops attached to Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
Making the clarifications on Friday, Col Iliyasu said the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai sent a delegation led by Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh to the northeast to ascertain the state of affairs.
Others in the delegation which spent two days in the area, included Chief of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Samuel Adebayo, Director, Campaign Planning, Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa and Deputy Director, Peacekeeping Operations, Colonel Samaila Uba.
Iliyasu also said a visit to 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital in Maimalari Cantonment by the delegation revealed there were 61 injured personnel including seven officers being treated in the hospital.
He said the 61 wounded comprised those from previous encounters as well as personnel who sustained injuries in the ambush.
Iliyasu said: “On arrival at Maiduguri at about 6pm on March 24, the COAS proceeded straight to the Headquarters, Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, where he was briefed on the said encounter by the Theatre Commander, Maj.-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi. The Theatre Commander explained that, on March 22, having captured and cleared Gorgi of the Boko Haram insurgents, he led the troops to harbour about five kilometers ahead of the location.
“However, at about 7am on March 22, when the troops were preparing to continue with their advance to clear other Boko Haram enclaves in the area, the insurgents attacked the rear elements of the advance force in an attempt to overrun them.
“The gallant troops repelled the attack, inflicting heavy casualty on the terrorists. In the aftermath of that encounter, no less than 150 Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised by the gallant troops while a large number of them retreated with gunshot wounds. Many of their equipment were also destroyed.
“However, 29 personnel of Operation LAFIYA DOLE paid the supreme price during the encounter as a result of the multiple explosions that occurred when the engine of an army truck conveying artillery bombs, explosives and other munitions caught fire after being hit by a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb fired by the insurgents.
He noted that some soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries and were evacuated to the 7 Division Hospital Maimalari Cantonment where they are responding to treatment.
Iliyasu said the delegation proceeded to Headquarters Sector 2 in Damaturu after a thorough briefing by the Theatre Commander on Wednesday morning, March 25.
He said the COAS addressed the troops that took part in the Gorgi operations, adding that they were in high spirits following their resounding victory over the terrorists during the encounter.
BREAKING: Vehicle Carrying Explosives Caused Akure Blast, Says Akeredolu
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has said a vehicle moving improvised explosive devices to a nearby state caused the explosion that rocked Akure, the state capital.
The explosion which occurred in the early hours of Saturday split the Akure Owo Road into two, reportedly destroying over 100 buildings.
Akeredolu, who inspected the scene of the explosion on Saturday, said he was briefed by security chiefs.
He explained that the vehicle was in a convoy heading to a storage facility in a neighbouring state when it broke down along the Akure Owo Road, some 2km to the Akure Airport.
The governorsaid the explosion, which destroyed over 50 buildings, happened in the process of fixing the vehicle.
He said, “I have been briefed by the security chiefs that in the early hours of Saturday, March 28th, a vehicle in a convoy transporting explosives to a storage facility in a neighbouring state developed a fault while in transit along the Akure Owo Road about 2km from the Akure Airport.”
He warned the people of the state to stay away from the spot where the vehicle exploded, advising them to maintain a respectable distance to avert another disaster should another explosion recur.
He said security operatives have cordoned off the area.
“Do not also forget that coronavirus is in the country. I thank God that there has not been any recorded case in Ondo State,” he added.