The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized a choice property belonging to the immediate past governor of Bauchi State, Malam Isa Yuguda.
The confiscation of the property which is located at No 184 Attahiru Bafarawa Close old GRA,Bauchi, is on the strength of an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the commission said yesterday.
It said the seizure will be in force pending the conclusion of investigation against him bordering on abuse of office, money laundering and diversion of public funds.
”The court had directed the Bauchi State Lands Registry to furnish the EFCC with the copies of all documents including building plan approval in respect of the property,” the EFCC said.
It was said to be on the trail of Yuguda who, prior to his election as governor had served, first as Minister of State for Transport and later as Minister Aviation in the Obasanjo Administration.
“We have been looking for him but intelligence gathering confirmed that he had been out of the country,” an EFCC source said.
“He was once sighted in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates but it is difficult to ascertain his location now.
“For the second year running we have been asking him to report for questioning but we cannot get him.”
His probe by the EFCC was triggered by a petition by the present administration in the state against him alleging that he spent N6.181billion as security votes within a period of four months in 2015 during his tenure.
The state cited a curious withdrawal of N2,191, 248,744.71 within 10 days under the guise of security votes.
In a petition signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Bello Shehu Ilelah, it urged the EFCC chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu to probe the suspicious expenses.
The petition, GO/SS/FIN/ S18/T.1 said the votes were supposed to be used for projects but diverted to security reasons.
The petition reads: “I am directed to lodge a petition on behalf of Bauchi State Government. The gist of the petition is that between January to May 2015, the sum of N6, 181, 224, 230 .00 was purportedly spent on security reasons and consideration as follows: January(N351,806,000); February(N899,900,000); March (N2,040, 876,500); April(N738,200,000) and May (N2, 150,441,730).
“On 8/5/2015 and 18/5/2015 respectively, two memoranda were originated by the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Bauchi State in the person of Hajiya Talatu M. Barwa to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda for the release of N1,591,248,744.71 and N600,000,000 respectively totalling N2,191, 248,744.71.
“The amount was supposed to be used for the execution of projects in the areas of health, education, rural development and security. The projects were said to cut across all the 20 Local Government Councils having direct bearing to the lives of people in various communities in the state.
“The sums are the 20 Local Government Councils’ contributions to joint projects between the state and local governments.
“The sums were spent as security vote requirements in May 2015 without executing any health, education and rural development-related projects which was the main reason why the application for cash backing was made.
“The sum of N1,591, 248,744.71 was to be released from the Local Government Joint Account No. 5030025116 at Fidelity Bank Plc to the Accountant-General through the Excess Crude Oil Account No. 1243224012 operated at the First City Monument Bank(FCMB) Plc.
“While the sum of N600million from the Local Government Joint Account No. 5030025116 at Fidelity Bank to the Bauchi State Government through Excess Crude Oil Account No. 1243224012 operated at the First City Monument Bank(FCMB) Plc.
“Suffice to say that the sums of money in the memorandum for cash backing dated 8/5/2015 respectively were released. We urge you to cause investigation to be conducted into this matter. The following documents are attached and marked as Annexures 1,2, 3 and 4 respectively.
The annexures are Memorandum(8/5/2015); Memorandum(18/5/2015); Document titled payment of Security Vote requirement for the year 2015; and Document titled “Certificate of Expenditure.”