The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is probing Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, for allegedly diverting N70 billion meant for contracts in the state.
The anti-graft agency spoke on the investigation on Thursday following comments credited to the Zamfara governor.
On Wednesday, Matawalle said Abdulrasheed Bawa, EFCC chairman, should ensure that the agency’s investigation does not target only the outgoing governors but also officials in the presidency.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Osita Nwajah, EFCC’s director of public affairs, said the N70 billion under probe was allegedly diverted by the governor’s “cronies”.
“The commission would like to put the nation on notice to expect more of the kind of wild allegations made by Matawalle as those at the receiving end of EFCC’s investigations, fight viciously back,” he said.
“But the real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC, over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over 70 billion.
“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.”
Nwajah said the commission’s findings have shown that more than 100 companies have received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state
“Some of the contractors who had been invited and quizzed by the Commission, 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,” he said.
“One of the contractors, a popular Abuja property developer, collected N6 billion on a N10 billion contract without rendering any service to Zamfara state.
“Another contractor collected over N3 billion for a contract for the supply of medical equipment but the Commission traced a payment of N400 million from his account to a Bureau de Change operator. The contractor confessed the payment was to procure the dollar equivalent allegedly for the state governor.”