The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has warned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and its chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to stop harassing its Chairman and Zamfara Governor, Abdulaziz Yari.
“But for want of scapegoats in its battle against the National Assembly, the EFCC continues to drag the governor’s name in the mud in a veiled effort to divert attention from the matters of the moment,” NGF spokesman, Abdulrazak Barkindo noted in a statement on Wednesday.
“Our chairman and governor of Zamfara State Dr Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar had for the umpteenth time told the commission that he neither owns a plot of land in Lagos nor owns or intends to build a hotel in Lagos.
“Yari had denied any links with a $3 million hotel in Lagos which some online media attributed to him and in fact sued the publications responsible for that insidious report for libel”, it said.
The NGF also urged Nigerians to note that the EFCC action on the issue is not about any missing funds anymore, saying “the NGF would like to categorically emphasise that it did not, at any material time, receive any funds from the Paris London refunds on behalf of any states”.
It said the Ministry of Finance remitted all states funds to them directly from the federation accounts.
“What the NGF received, it must be repeated here, was monies due to the consortium of consultants who verified the amounts due to all the states that were owed.
“Furthermore, the NGF would like to state that its involvement with the Paris-London Club refunds had saved the states colossal amounts of money individually and collectively because instead of the high percentages agreed upon by the individual states to their separate consultants, the NGF drew the percentages down to 2% which was paid to the consortium,” the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered an interim forfeiture of the sums of N500m and $500,000 allegedly looted from the Paris Club refunds by Yari.
They were said to have been recovered from two firms, First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited, and Gosh Projects Limited.
EFCC, which filed the suit, alleged that the sums of money were fraudulently diverted from the NGF’s bank account on the instruction of Yari.
An affidavit by the EFCC alleged that the N500m was diverted to offset Yari’s personal loan obtained from the First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited.
It also alleged that the second firm, Gosh Projects Limited, utilised was paid for the purchase of building materials for Yari’s 100-room hotel project in Lagos.