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Protesters Storm EFCC HQ, Want Matawalle’s Probe Reopened

The protesters under the auspices of APC Loyalists Forum is asking the EFCC to investigate all petitions against the former governor.


The protesters under the auspices of APC Loyalists Forum is asking the EFCC to investigate all petitions against the former governor.

 

Dozens of protesters from Zamfara State have occupied the entrance to the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja, calling on the commission to reopen investigations on the former governor of the state, Bello Matawalle.

The protesters under the auspices of APC Loyalists Forum is asking the EFCC to investigate all petitions against the former governor, including the alleged contract diversion up to the tune of N70 billion during his tenure as governor of the state.

The EFCC Director of Public Affairs, Wilson Uwujaren, who received the protest letter on behalf of the chairman, assured the protesters that the commission is determined to pursuing every corruption case to a logical conclusion.

READ ALSO: EFCC Probes Zamfara Gov, Matawalle Over ‘N70bn Fraud’

The EFCC had in May 2023, said the then outgoing Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle was under investigation for alleged N70bn fraud.

The Commission, in a statement then said Matawalle was being investigated over allegation of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70billion.

“The money which was sourced as loan from an old generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects across the local government areas of the state, was allegedly diverted by the governor through proxies and contractors who received payment for contracts that were not executed,” the statement partly read in part.

“The Commission’s investigations so far reveal that more than 100 companies have received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state.”

The EFCC said some of the contractors had been invited and quizzed, adding that they made “startling revelations on how they were allegedly compelled by the governor to return the funds received from the state coffers back to him through his aides after converting the same to United States Dollars”.

“They confirmed that they did not render any service to Zamfara State but were allegedly directed to convert the monies paid to them into United States Dollar and return to the State governor through some of his commissioners, notably the Commissioners in charge of Finance and Local Government Affairs.”

“As part of the extensive investigation of contracts award by the Matawalle administration, especially for phantom projects in the local government areas, the Commission has recovered a sum of N300million from a company, Fezel Nigeria Limited. The funds were traced to the Zamafara Investment Company.

“In Nigeria state governors and their deputies enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution while in office, a reason the EFCC has yet to arrest Governor Matawalle.”

Matawalle, who lost his re-election bid in the 2023 governorship election in the state, was subsequently appointed as the Minister of State for Defence by President Bola Tinubu.