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15 Mar 2019

Alleged N2bn Fraud: Witness Narrates How Niger State Funds were Diverted Under Ex-Gov, Aliyu

The trial of a former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, for an alleged N2 billion fraud continued before Justice Mikailu Abdullahi of the State High Court, sitting in Minna, continued with a prosecution witness giving more details as to how funds were diverted from the state’s account.

Aliyu is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, along with his then Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Niger State Chapter, Barrister Tanko Beji, on a seven-count amended charge bordering on criminal breach of trust.

While being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, J.S. Okutepa, SAN, the witness, Mohammed Bala, whose testimony began on February 21, 2019, further narrated how investigations revealed suspicious transfers from the state’s Federation Allocation Account to private accounts.

Bala, an operative with the EFCC, told the court that in the course of investigations, the third defendant was invited for interrogation.

He said: “We confronted him with the allegations, more especially the Ecological Fund issue, and he admitted that ‘yes’ there was the issue of Eco Fund which was received from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in April, 2014.

“At that time, he was Commissioner of Environment, and he admitted to receiving N800 million and that he benefited the sum of N50 million out of the N800 million.

“During the course of investigation, after we carefully analysed the payment vouchers in the Government House, we saw the name of one Internal Auditor.

“We invited him and he obliged; we confronted him on Sceptre Plus and he said ‘yes’, but they have executed their contract which included planting of trees, forestation and maintaining gardens in the metropolis.”

He further told the court, that the then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Architect Umar M. Bawa, was also invited for questioning.

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