Politics

EFCC accuses Atiku’s lawyer, Turaki, of N20billion fraud

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar

Kabiru Turaki, a former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, who is the most senior lawyer in the Atiku Abubakar’s presidential election legal team, has been accused of N20billion fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) approached the court to seek for the final forfeiture of the alleged funds linked to Turaki when he was Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs under the administration of Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the EFCC in an affidavit filed by Bello Adama, one of its investigators, in January 2018, the anti-graft received intelligence about an alleged misappropriation of over N20billion while Turaki was in office.

The EFCC alleged that the funds were meant for constituency projects and the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts and Security Challenges in North-East.

The anti-graft further noted that the ministry under Turaki’s leadership entered an agreement with companies for the supply of several items such as; tricycles, fertilizer and motorcycles, but this contract agreement was used to steal the funds through the companies.

Read the EFCC affidavit filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja below;

“That sometime in January 2018, the applicant received intelligence in respect of a case against the former minister in charge of the now defunct Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Mr Kabiru Taminu Turaki (SAN), alleging conspiracy and criminal misappropriation of public funds involving the sum of over N20bn  meant for constituency  projects and funds for the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts and Security Challenges in the North-East.

“That preliminary investigation conducted by the commission revealed that the former minister of the FMSDIGA conspired with some contractors and some members of staff of the ministry’s Procurement and Accounts Departments to divert public funds.

“That preliminary investigation  further revealed that contrary to contract documentation on the agreement entered into by companies for the supply of several items included tricycles, fertilizer and motorcycles; contractors were made to pay out part of the funds released to them to some members of staff of the ministry or business associates of the former minister.

“That further to the deposition in the foregoing paragraphs, the trio of Titus Okunrinboye, Vincent Odafen and Muara Muhammed Gambo maintained and operated companies which were used to siphon public funds in the name of contracts or consultancy.

“That our investigation into the case further revealed that a larger part of the amount stated in paragraphs 4 and 6 above was fraudulently disbursed  by the Central Bank of Nigeria at the instance of the FMSDIGA to individuals and corporate entities that did not carry out and did not intend to carry out any job as specified in the alleged contract documentation.”

N600million found in two accounts linked to Titus Okunrinboye, an accountant in the ministry, was forfeited to the Federal Government on September 26 by Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa.

Before the final forfeiture order, the judge had issued an interim forfeiture which was published on July 8. The interim order issued invitation to whoever had interest in the funds to appear before the court, but nobody came to claim the funds.

Consequently, the fund was seized and paid into the Central Bank of Nigeria account.

The EFCC further noted that; “in the course of investigation, Mr Titus was found to have fraudulently received money from the Central Bank of Nigeria titled group life insurance which was debunked and tagged fraudulent by the Accountant General of the Federation upon enquiry by the commission.

“That investigation has also established that the officer has formed the habit of stealing money from government’s account where he is made a signatory and pay same to his personal accounts.

“That one of his accounts with number 100470202420 was linked to proceeds of criminal activities with a total credit turnover of the sum of N1,285,036,436.88 and a closing balance of N51,612,185.32

“That the second account bearing his name with account number 2083812581 has total credit of N1,080,642,118.05 with a closing balance of N539,707,331.10 which forms part of his criminal activities.”

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