With the news of no nonsense Ibrahim Magu occupying the seat of Chairman of Nigeria’s foremost the anti-graft commission – Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Igbo political analysts couldn’t but wonder where the EFCC spotlight will focus on in the coming months or years.
Will EFCC spotlight focus on members of a particular ethnicity and victimize them? Will it focus on suspected “political enemies” of the APC-led federal government and allow itself to be used as a “bully tool” in the same way Buhari – Idiagbon administration used the now defunct Nigeria Security Organization in the 1980s to bully opposition voices? Or, will the anti-graft commission approach its work with an unparallel sense of equity and objectivity under Ibrahim Magu? For now, nobody can tell.
We, Igbos, in our cultural and traditional nuisance, abhor corruption in all its ugly forms, and are not proud of embezzlement of public funds at the expense of the people. We’ll gladly support the work of the new EFCC chairman, if the anti-graft commission will be objective and fair in its investigations and activities in the near future.
One way we can support the drive to rid Igboland of financial corruption in public offices is to not play the ostrich and pretend like it does not exist but to face the issue squarely take the bull by the hor and slaughter it wherever we find it.
So, in this post, we are running through the list of Igbo politicians that had been under EFCC heat in 2015 but, in no particular order, we’ll highlight only the top 5 as follows:
- Martin Elechi:
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in June grilled former governor of Ebonyi State, Martin Elechi along with some former cabinet members – the permanent secretary of the state Ministry of Works, Cornelius Onwe, as well as the state’s Accountant General, Edwin Igbele; Commissioner for Finance, Timothy Ogbonnaya Odaa; and Commissioner for Local government and Chieftaincy Matters, Cele Nwali.Elechi was accused of misappropriating public funds while in office.On January 29, the EFCC had also quizzed the former governor’s son, Elechi Nnanna Elechi, over allegations of fraud. The younger Elechi was alleged to be the face of the family’s company – profiting from state and local governments contracts that have remained unexecuted.
They were all fingered in allegations of fraud regarding an Asphalt Project earmarked for the 13 local government of the state by the former governor’s administration for which money running into millions of naira was deducted at source, from local government accounts.
- Ikedi Ohakim:
Ohakim Ikedi, former governor of Imo state, was arraigned by EFCC agents on a three-count charge bordering on money laundering.Ohakim is alleged to have made a cash payment of $2, 290,000.00(Two Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Thousand Dollars), for a private piece of land at Plot No. 1098 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, otherwise known as No. 60, Kwame Nkurumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja with public funds.
- Orji Uzo Kalu:
Orji Uzor kalu, former governor of Abia state, according to the high court, had a case to answer in the 97-count charge bordering on corruption while in office filed against him by the EFCC. Several Igbo groups have, in 2015, called on the EFCC to rise to the occasion and obey the ruling of the Court of Appeal and expeditiously bring Orji Kalu to justice for his grand larceny of the Abia patrimony.
- Chimaroke Nnamani:
Justice Mohammed Yinusa of the Federal High Court, in July 2015, convicted four companies associated with former governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani and ordered that their properties be forfeited to the Federal Government. The four companies are Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited and Renaissance University Teaching Hospital.The properties are located across the five states in Igboland.Among them are 22 Duplex buildings in Ebeano Under Tunnel Estate now known as Fidelity Estate; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; Cosmos 105.5 FM Digital Station (Ceuna Communications); and Capital City Automobile Limited, located at 12 Station Road ,GRA, Enugu. Also forfeited to the Federal Government include properties of Hill Gate Investment – Plot No H12, H13, H14, H15, H21`, H116, H188, Plot 10, Plot H11, Plot H16, Plot H17, Plot H18, Plot 19, Plot H20, Plot H49, Plot H50, Plot H117, CP/4 (HCR2), CP5 (HCR2) CP/6(HCR2) CP/7 (HCR2) CP/8
The assets also include several undeveloped properties/plots of land of Rainbownet Nigeria Limited in Enugu, Abakaliki, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha, Awka and Umuahia.
Properties of Rainbownet Communication which include BTS, Microwave Avenue Radio, Rectifiere, and a host of the equipment in various sites in Anambra States are also to be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Aside the landed properties, over N35 million from the frozen bank accounts of the companies are also to the forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
According to the charge, Nnamani conspired with other accused persons to launder funds from the state treasury, especially monies meant for the local government areas of Enugu state.
- Diezani Alison-Madueke:
The EFCC, in 2015, seized cars, jewellery and large sums of money from five associates of former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.Other suspects, who are connected to the investigation of Alison-Madueke for money laundering, have also had their movement restricted. It is too early to declare whether they are guilty or not. But in line with international best practices, the EFCC has invoked the assets forfeiture clause in its Act to seize some choice bullet-proof vehicles, huge cash and jewellery from these suspects.The movement of the affected suspects has also been restricted to Nigeria pending the conclusion of investigation. The case at hand involves a high-net worth syndicate with tentacles across the strata of the society. But we are already cracking the investigation.
Alison-Madueke has been at the centre of controversy since she was detained by the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) in London on October 2 on allegations of money laundering.
The former minister was accused of looting billions of dollars from Nigeria’s treasury.
Meanwhile, one of Alison-Madueke’s associates, oil tycoon, Kola Aluko, has admitted to paying rent for the luxury London home of the former minister’s mother, Beatrice Agama.
Mrs. Agama is also involved in the case against her daughter as separate sums of £5,000 and $2,000 were seized from her by the NCA as part of its investigations.