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Ola Olukoyede, the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, will take over 25 high-profile corruption investigations including former governors, ministers, and senators.
Some of the lawsuits, particularly those involving former governors, have dragged on for years. While some are still being investigated, others have spent years in court with no final outcome.
Olukoyede was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday, almost four months after the suspension of the commission’s former head, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
The sums at risk in the high-profile cases are not less than N772.2 billion and $2.2 billion, which are said to have gone missing as a result of money laundering, fund diversion, and embezzlement.
Former governors invited for investigation include Dr Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past governor of Ekiti State; his predecessor, Ayo Fayose; former governor of Zamfara State and current Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle; and Chimaroke Nnamani, a former governor of Enugu State.
Other pending cases involving the commission include former ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (retd. ), and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, among others.
The committee summoned Fayemi in June on charges of N4 billion misappropriation during his stint as governor. In a statement the next day, Fayemi’s media adviser, Ahmad Sajoh, claimed the former governor was invited “regarding a money laundering petition against him,” adding that the petition was filed by an anonymous entity.
The EFCC said in May that the former Zamfara State governor was being probed for allegedly diverting N70 billion from the state coffers. While the former governor accused Bawa of requesting a $2 million bribe, the EFCC stated Matawalle was being investigated for N70 billion in fraud. The status of the bribery and fraud allegations could not be determined at the time of submitting this report.
Similarly, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa State and the immediate past chairman of the All Progressives Congress, was charged by the agency in 2010 of N15 billion fraud while serving as governor between 1999 and 2007. The commission charged Adamu and 18 others with 149 counts.
Despite Adamu’s allegation that the case against him had been dismissed by the court, which the EFCC (the plaintiff) has yet to confirm or refute, the commission prosecuted Adamu’s son in 2018 for N92m fraud. The status of the two distinct instances remained uncertain.
Similarly, in 2021, the EFCC investigated Rabiu Kwankwaso, the former governor of Kano State and the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party in the 2023 election, for suspected non-remittance of a N10 billion pension fund. The investigation’s conclusion was unknown, which is why the EFCC had yet to announce whether or not the sum had been discovered.
The EFCC investigation into Rivers State’s finances under former Governor Peter Odili has yet to be completed. The EFCC had previously stated that it was investigating Odili, the spouse of a former Supreme Court justice, for N100 billion fraud in 2012.
Despite a permanent court injunction prohibiting the Federal Government and its institutions, including the EFCC, from investigating, detaining, or prosecuting him, Ibrahim Magu, the former acting chairman of the agency, stated in 2020 that the investigation will be revived.
It was unclear whether the commission finally revived the matter. Odili has been out of office since 2007.
Former Abia State governor Theodore Orji and his sons Chinedu and Ogbonna were also under investigation by the EFCC in 2021 for suspected theft of public monies and money laundering totaling N551 billion. The panel also accused the former governor in 2018 of mismanaging N27 billion allocated to the state by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Small and Medium Enterprises during his tenure.