Corruption and Underdevelopment

Alleged N109bn Fraud: Court remands ex-Accountant General in Kuje prison

By Paul Michael

  • As EFCC says ex-AGF got N15bn bribe to fast-track 13% Oil derivation payment
Justice Adeyemi Ajayi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, on Friday remanded embattled former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and two others in the Kuje Medium Correctional Centre.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Idris and his co-defendants including Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited on a 14-count charge bordering on stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.4 billion.

In an earlier statement announcing the scheduled arraignment, EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren disclosed two counts (one and eight) of the 14 counts the defendants will face while accusing Idris that he received a total of N15 billion bribe to fast-track 13% derivation funds to oil-producing states of the Niger Delta region.

The 13% derivation fund is a benefit-sharing system that helps crude oil producing communities get funds meant for development.

The fund comes from the federation revenue through the state governments as enshrined in section 162, sub-section 2 of the Nigerian Constitution.

In 2021, the nine oil-producing states of Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Imo, Lagos, and Abia shared N450.60 billion from the federation account through the 13 percent derivation formula.

The EFCC claimed that the suspended AGF accepted the sum of N15,136,221,921.46 from Olusegun Akindele, his Technical Assistant for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the states.

According to the anti-graft agency, count one of the charges reads, “That you, Ahmed Idris between February and December 2021 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, being a public servant by virtue of your position as the Accountant General of the Federation accepted from Olusegun Akindele, a gratification in the aggregate sum of N15,136,221,921.46 which sum was converted to the United States Dollars by the said Olusegun Akindele and which sum did not form part of your lawful remuneration but as a motive for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine (9) oil producing States in the Federation, through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and punishable under the same section.”

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Count eight reads, “That you, Ahmed Idris while being the Accountant General of the Federation and Godfrey Olusegun Akindele while being the Technical Assistant to the Accountant General of the Federation between February and November 2021, at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, in such capacity, entrusted with a certain property, to wit: N84,390,000,000 committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property when you dishonestly received the said sum from the Federal Government of Nigeria through Godfrey Olusegun Akindele trading under the name and style of Olusegun Akindele & Co., and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.”

Recall that the EFCC on May 16 announced the arrest of Idris who was the Accountant General of the federation at the time, a move that sent shockwaves across the nation in the current administration’s efforts in fighting corruption.

In a statement, the anti-graft agency had explained that Idris was arrested for an alleged diversion and laundering of N80 billion.

The development forced the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Zainab, to suspend him pending the conclusion of the corruption investigations.

About two weeks later, the EFCC uncovered another N90 billion alleged fraud involving the suspended Accountant-General.

When arraigned on Friday, all the defendants pleaded not guilty. Idris and other defendants. Therefore, asked the court for bail pending trial.

Counsel to Idris, Chris Uche, SAN, in his submissions, assured the court that his client would be available to face the charge against him.

Uche specifically noted that the EFCC had earlier granted administrative bail to the Defendant who he said flew into Abuja from Kano state immediately after he was notified about the arraignment.

“In a matter of this nature that the Defendants have been on bail, and since there is no complaint that they violated the administrative bail conditions, I pray that they be allowed to continue to enjoy the same,” Uche submitted.

However, the court ordered that Idris and other defendants should remain in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service till Wednesday when their bail applications will be heard.

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