Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu, who ruled Abia State between 1999 and 2007, is facing a 107-count charge of alleged money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of N5.6 billion public funds. Kalu allegedly transferred billions of Naira belonging to the Abia State government to his Slok Airlines. He was also alleged to have, between 1999 and 2007, moved various sums of government money into Slok Investment, Slok Nigeria Limited, Slok Incorporated and other companies allegedly owned by him.
His corruption trial started on July 27, 2007 but it has suffered setbacks in the past eight years thanks to interlocutory applications. Kalu first challenged the charges against him and the jurisdiction of the court to hear and determine the case. When the court refused to quash the charges, he took the case to the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, which in a unanimous decision upheld the charges and the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
Dissatisfied, Kalu approached the Supreme Court to set aside the rulings of the two lower courts. But the apex court, in a unanimous decision on March 18, 2016, dismissed the appeal and ordered the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign the case to another Judge to enable commencement of the trial afresh, and the matter be given accelerated hearing.
The trial of Chimaroke Nnamani, former governor of Enugu State, has been dragging in court since July, 2007 when the EFCC first arraigned him before a Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos for alleged laundering of N4.5 billion state funds.
Nnamani was charged to court, alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his former aide and six firms linked to him, namely Rainbownet Nigeria Limited; Hillgate Nigeria Limited; Cosmo FM; Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited; Renaissance University Teaching Hospital; and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.
Although multiple re-assignments have trailed the case over the years, there was a major breakthrough early last year when the EFCC sought for a separate trial of the companies. The anti-graft agency adopted this option because Nnamani, the first accused person, had stalled proceedings on the matter on account of frequent applications to travel abroad for medical treatment. On May 19, 2015, four of the six companies linked to the alleged graft pleaded guilty to a 10-count amended charge brought against them by the EFCC.
Consequently, Justice Mohammed Yinusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos had on July 8, 2015 convicted the four companies and ordered their forfeiture to the Federal Government. The court also ordered that over N35 million from the frozen bank accounts of the companies be forfeited to the Federal Government.
The media and publicity unit of the EFCC said that even though the properties linked to Nnamani have been confiscated, the commission has not abandoned the case involving the former governor.
Ibrahim Saminu Turaki
Ibrahim Turaki, governor of Jigawa State between 1999 and 2007, is facing trial over a 32-count charge of alleged criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misappropriation of about N36 billion from the state’s treasury during his eight-year administration. Turaki was charged alongside three companies — INC Natural Resources Limited; Arkel Construction Nigeria Limited; and Wildcat Construction Limited — which he allegedly used to siphon the funds as well as an accomplice, Ahmed Mohammed.
The former Jigawa State governor, who shortly after securing bail emerged a senator, had during his term at the National Assembly, between 2007 and 2011 reportedly secured the transfer of his trial to a Federal High Court in his home state. Turaki has continuously evaded appearance in court. At the last sitting on November 13, 2014, he was absent, despite a subsisting warrant for his arrest. Consequently, he has been declared wanted by the EFCC.
Sule Lamido, who succeeded Saminu Turaki as governor of Jigawa State, is also standing trial at an Abuja High Court along with his two sons — Aminu and Mustapha — over alleged money laundering and stealing of public funds to the tune of N1.35 billion. Lamido and his sons were initially docked in Kano on July 9, 2015 alongside their alleged accomplice, Wada Abubakar, on a 28-count charge. However, they were subsequently re-arraigned by the EFCC in Abuja on September 22, 2015 with an amended 27-count criminal charge bordering on alleged corruption, money laundering, breach of trust and illegal diversion of public funds.
Lamido, it was claimed, abused his position as executive governor of Jigawa State between 2007 and 2015, by allegedly awarding contracts to companies where he had interest, using his two sons as front. He was also alleged to have collected kickbacks from contractors in the state, with the funds allegedly paid into accounts managed by his sons.
The Lamidos are being tried alongside four companies allegedly involved in the fraud: Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited, Bamaina Aluminum Limited and Speeds International Limited.
The corruption case against the former Plateau State Governor has been on hold for years due to interlocutory injunctions granted by the courts in 2007. Dariye, who is now a senator representing Plateau Central, was arrested by the Metropolitan Police in London on January 20, 2004 with over $9 million cash. Although, Dariye later cleared himself of the money laundering charges, he was on July 13, 2007 arraigned by the EFCC on a 23-count charge of alleged money laundering and diversion of the state’s N1.2 billion Ecological Fund. However, Dariye, challenging the jurisdiction of the Abuja High Court to try him, took the case to the Supreme Court where it was thrown out as “unmeritorious”. With the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that vacated the injunction, the trial of the former Plateau State governor is expected to commence.
Abubakar Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kwara State and the current Senate President, is standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Abuja on a 13-count charge of false declaration of assets during his tenure as governor. The Ministry of Justice referred the trial of Saraki to the CCT on the strength of joint investigation carried out by the EFCC and the ICPC in which Saraki was found to have allegedly acquired assets that were not declared in his form.
Saraki, who has denied any wrongdoing, has unsuccessfully challenged the tribunal’s jurisdiction and constitution up to the Supreme Court.
Ahmed Sani Yerima
This former Zamfara State governor and a serving senator of the Federal Republic is facing trial for alleged gross mismanagement of state funds during his reign, including N1billion loan meant for the repair of Gusau Dam in 2006.
In January, this year, the ICPC filed 19 charges against the ex-governor alongside three others — Alhaji Hashim A. Dikko, Development Management Limited and HAD Nigeria Limited, at the High Court of Zamfara State.
About N425, 491,736.75 of the N1billion was allegedly diverted to other purposes, including assistance to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), furniture allowance, consultancy fee, Ramadan feeding, Hajj and purchase of cars.
Former Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam is standing trial before a Federal High Court, Abuja alongside his erstwhile commissioner for finance, Omadaki Oklobia, on a nine-count charge of alleged money laundering of N3.1 billion when he piloted the affairs of the state from 2007 to 2015.
The money is reportedly proceeds from shares owned by the Benue State government and Benue Investment and Property Company Limited. Suswan and his former commissioner for finance were first docked before the high court on November 10, 2015. Though they pleaded not guilty to the charge, the EFCC maintained that it has sufficient evidence to prove that the former governor and his alleged accomplice committed an offence punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended, in 2012.
The former Benue State governor was granted administrative bail and his trial is ongoing.
The former governor of Delta State, who is expected to complete his 13 years jail term in London later this year, is to undergo fresh trial upon release for alleged money laundering of over $500million while in office. This follows the ruling of Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-man panel of Court of Appeal, Benin on May 15, 2014 that Ibori still has a case to answer. Before he was jailed in the UK, Ibori had been tried and freed on all the alleged 170 corruption and money laundering charges by Justice Marcel Awokulehin of the Federal High Court, Asaba on December 17, 2009.
Not satisfied with the ruling of Justice Awokulehin, the EFCC instructed its lawyers to appeal the matter and it was upheld in 2014, hence the former Delta State governor is expected to face fresh trial after serving jail term in the UK.
While the Federal High Court in Asaba had discharged and acquitted Ibori who governed Delta State from 1999 to 2007, he was arrested in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates under an Interpol arrest warrant issued at the behest of a United Kingdom court enacted by the Metropolitan Police. Consequently, he was convicted in April 2012 by a Southwark Crown Court, UK, for money laundering and conspiracy and handed a 13-year jail sentence. British courts also froze $35 million of Ibori’s assets.
The immediate past governor of Ebonyi State was recently quizzed by the EFCC for alleged fraudulent award of asphalt contract and misappropriation of millions of Naira meant for the Centenary celebrations.
The contract scam was allegedly executed by the ex-governor in connivance with his son, Elechi Nnanna Elechi. Nnanna was arrested by the EFCC in January 2015 over the alleged fraudulent dealings, while his septuagenarian father’s day of reckoning was delayed because he was still enjoying immunity from prosecution then.
However, the EFCC has stepped up investigation into the allegations against Elechi and he may soon be arraigned in court for commencement of trial.
The former Gombe State governor and serving senator is on trial, alongside four other accused persons, over alleged conspiracy, money laundering and embezzlement of funds belonging to the state government worth N52 billion. Goje was on October 7, 2011 declared wanted by the EFCC after he rebuffed invitations for interrogation over alleged embezzlement of state funds. Although, he later handed himself over to the commission a few days later and was arraigned in court on October 20, 2011, Goje has, however, maintained innocence of the alleged corruption charges.
But a witness in his trial, Shehu Mohammed Atiku had claimed before a Federal High Court in Gombe that Goje forged the Resolution of the House and collected N5bn facility from Access Bank. Goje’s trial suffered a set-back and was adjourned last November when suspected political thugs invaded the court premises and disrupted the proceedings. The trial of the former Gombe State governor is ongoing.
The former Adamawa State governor has been under probe by the EFCC for alleged misappropriation of over N15 billion state funds while in office. Following his impeachment in 2014, he was declared wanted by the anti-graft agency alongside his son Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako, in February 2015 over alleged criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.
The EFCC also alleged massive looting of the treasury by top officials of Adamawa State government under Nyako, culminating in the arrest and questioning of key officials, including then secretary to the state government, the commissioner for finance, the commissioner for higher education, the accountant general of the state.
The ex-governor who left the country shortly after losing power in a dramatic power play returned a year later and visited the EFCC to answer some questions over the alleged misappropriation of funds. He was later released on “administrative bail.”
Nyako’s son, Abdul-Aziz, currently representing Adamawa Central at the National Assembly, was also quizzed by the EFCC on his role in the alleged laundering of state funds into the accounts of five companies linked to him. The alleged conduit firms include the Blue Opal Nigeria Limited; Crust Energy Nigeria Limited; Blue Ribbon Multilinks Limited; Tower Assets Management Limited; and Blue Ribbon Bureau De Change. The funds were allegedly funneled into the accounts of the companies from Adamawa State Government accounts domiciled in a new generation bank by an account officer said to be an in-law to the elder Nyako. His trial is ongoing.
Ikedi Ohakim, who governed Imo State between 2007 and 2011, is under trial over alleged misappropriation of N18 billion bond he obtained on behalf of Imo State government while in office. Ohakim also allegedly made cash withdrawals of about N1 billion from the state account on May 28, 2011, barely 24 hours to hand-over. He was arrested, interrogated and later released but his trial has continued to drag.
Obong Victor Attah
He is facing charges bordering on alleged criminal conspiracy, breach of trust, diversion and laundering of N45 billion state funds during his eight years reign as governor of Akwa Ibom State between 1999 and 2007. But Attah insists he committed no offence.
Ali Modu Sheriff
Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of Borno State and current Acting National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was arrested, questioned and released on administrative bail by the EFCC in June 2015 over alleged mismanagement of the about N300 billion his government received from the Federation Account between 2003 and 2011. The case involving Sheriff is yet to be charged to court.
Achike Udenwa, after the end of his tenure in 2007, was invited by the EFCC to answer questions over his government’s handling of the N36 billion funds meant for local governments in Imo State during his reign. The ex-governor is yet to be formally charged to court.
Abdullahi Adamu, former governor of Nassarawa State and presently a senator representing Nasarawa West, is standing trial for alleged embezzlement of over N15 billion while in office. He was arraigned by the EFCC on March 3, 2010, alongside 18 others, on a 149-count charge of alleged embezzlement of public funds. Since then, the former Nassarawa State governor has made several unsuccessful attempts to convince the court to drop the corruption charges against him.
The former Ogun State governor is facing trial on a 38-count charge of alleged stealing of public funds to the tune of N211.3 million, bribery and fraudulent conversion of public property and false declaration of assets. Corporate bodies such as Golf Place Resort Hotels Limited; Western Nigeria Publishing; Aron Nigeria Limited; Abeokuta Lions Club; and Portal Properties Development Limited are also allegedly involved in the corruption. The case has continued to drag.
Reverend Jolly Nyame was docked on a 41-count charge of alleged inflation of contracts and embezzlement of N1.64 billion in July 2007. Part of the allegations against the ex-Taraba governor was that he collected N180 million from USAB International Nigeria Limited as kick-back from a N250 million contract awarded to the company for the supply of stationery to the state government between January and February 2005.
The former Taraba State governor was also accused of purchase of three aircraft in the name of the state government for commercial flights at inflated price. While only two out of the three aircraft were alleged to have been delivered, the whereabouts of the two aircraft delivered remained a mystery. Trial is ongoing.
Godswill Akpabio, immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State and the Senate Minority Leader in the 8th National Assembly, is under probe for an alleged misappropriation of N108.1billion state funds.
Akpabio was quizzed by the EFCC following a petition forwarded to the commission by an Abuja-based lawyer and activist, Leo Ekpenyong, accusing the ex-governor of looting Akwa Ibom State treasury during his reign between 2007 and 2015.
List of exotic assets allegedly acquired by the former governor through surrogates include a multi-billion Naira mansion at Plot 5, Okogosi Spring Close, off Katsina-Ala Crescent, Maitama-Abuja; a multi-billion Naira mansionette at Plot 28, Colorado Close, Maitama, Abuja; and another multi-billion Naira mansion at 22, Probyn Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. Others include a multi-billion naira mansionette at Plot 23, Olusegun Aina Street, Parkview, Lagos; and a multi-billion naira 25-storey building at Akin Adesola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Akpabio has consistently denied the allegations. The EFCC is yet to arraign him months after he was quizzed over the corruption charges.
Governor of Adamawa State between 1999 and 2007, Boni Haruna is standing trial before a Federal High Court, Abuja on an amended 28-count charge of alleged embezzlement of N100 million while in office. Also under trial alongside Haruna are Mohammed Inuwa Bassi, a former Minority Leader in the Adamawa State House of Assembly; John Babani Elias, Haruna’s former aide; and Al-Akim Investment Nigeria Limited. The stage for the continuation of the trial was set following an unsuccessful attempt by the accused persons to quash the 28 criminal count charges against them in November 2012. However, the case has continued to drag in court.
The former governor of Benue State and a serving Senator was quizzed by the EFCC for alleged misappropriation of N5 billion state fund while in office.
Akume’s case was ready for prosecution during the tenure of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu but was halted soon after the appointment of Mike Kaase Aondoakaa (SAN) as Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Farida Waziri as the Chairman of the EFCC. The Akume file was allegedly amongst those high-profile cases subsequently declared missing from the commission’s custody.The case has continued to drag.
Former Oyo State Governor Rashidi Ladoja was recently named among the political bigwigs who allegedly participated in the sharing of the $2.1 billion arms funds. He is also facing charges of alleged money laundering. The EFCC had arraigned the former governor alongside one of his former aides, Chief Waheed Akanbi, on an amended 10-count charge of alleged money laundering to the tune of N4.7 billion before Justice Ramat Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos in November 2008.
They allegedly conspired to convert property and resources from an illegal act, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the property and resources. The EFCC also accused Ladoja of using about N42 million to purchase an Armoured Land Cruiser Jeep, and allegedly remitted about 600,000 pounds to one Bimpe Ladoja in London. Ladoja’s efforts to halt his trial collapsed as the appellate court in 2014 ordered the trial to continue.
This former Sokoto State Governor is among the top politicians standing trial over the $2.1 billion arms purchase scandal. Bafarawa, along with his son Sagir and their firm, Dalhatu Investments, have been arraigned on 22-count charges of alleged misappropriation of the arms funds from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki. Bafarawa reportedly received about N100 million from the fund.
He is facing trial on an 11-count charge bordering on alleged conspiracy, contract awards without budgetary provisions, and obtaining by false pretence money worth N11.5 billion. Alao-Akala allegedly misappropriated the funds during his reign as the governor of Oyo State between 2006 and 2011. The trial is ongoing following an unsuccessful bid by the former governor to convince an appeal court to quash a December 12, 2012 ruling by Justice Akintunde Boade of the Oyo State High Court which held that he has a case to answer.
Aliyu Akwe Doma
Governor of Nasarawa State between 2007 and 2011, Aliyu Akwe Doma is standing trial alongside former Secretary to the State Government, Timothy Anjide and the ex-Accountant General of the State, Dauda Egwa, on a 10-count charge of alleged laundering of the state’s funds to the tune of N8 billion. Akwe Doma’s trial took a dramatic twist on November 30, 2015 when a prosecution witness, Solomon Katsa, a former director of finance told Justice A.A Okeke of the Federal High Court sitting in Lafia that, Aliyu Akwe Doma did not follow due process in the disbursement and withdrawal of security votes. The trial is ongoing.
Usman Dakingari, Kebbi State governor between 2007 and 2015, was detained and quizzed by the EFCC in November, last year over alleged laundering of N3.8 billion of the state’s funds. Before then, his wife, Zainab, the daughter of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, was invited by the EFCC over alleged laundering of N2 billion on behalf of her husband. Dakingari is yet to be charged to court by the anti-graft agency.
The former governor of Bauchi State and immediate past national chairman of the PDP, has been standing trial for allegedly looting N19.8 billion when he was the chief executive of the state. He is also accused of utilizing public funds for PDP campaigns. Muazu is said to be central to the disbursement of public funds to six PDP chairmen and the party’s contact and mobilization committees in the geo-political zones and other party chieftains during the 2015 general elections. Recently, the EFCC declared him wanted as his whereabouts are unknown. Mua’zu is alleged to have travelled abroad after he stepped down as chairman following the defeat of the PDP in the presidential election.
Jonah Jang, former Plateau State governor, now a senator representing Plateau-North Senatorial District, was invited for questioning by the EFCC in January, this year, based on petitions by the Plateau State government. The petitions follow the report of a 12-man transition committee set up by Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong which alleged that the Jang administration misappropriated public funds. The committee led by Deputy Governor Sonni Tyoden claimed that “between May 2007 and May 2015, the sum of N525.35 billion was the total income accruing to the state, statutory allocations inclusive, but the state was left with a debt of N222.3 billion by May, 2015.”
Jang, who served as a military administrator as well as democratically-elected governor for two terms, has not been formally charged to court after he was quizzed by the EFCC.
Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers State had in 2007 secured an unprecedented perpetual injunction against the anti-corruption agencies to steer clear of him over his alleged mismanagement of over N100 billion of Rivers State’s funds during his tenure.
But following widespread public outcries against the development, the EFCC later instituted an appeal before the Court of Appeal seeking to vacate the perpetual injunction but the case has remained largely dormant.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC Magu said recently that the commission is yet to prosecute Odili because of perpetual injunction granted by a court which stopped the anti-graft agency from moving against the former governor.
He, however, promised that the EFCC would soon reopen the case.
Former governor of Edo State Lucky Igbinedion is one of the two ex-governors who have been convicted so far for treasury looting since the anti-graft war was launched more than a decade ago. He was charged to court for laundering over N3 billion from the Edo State treasury. He escaped jail after he reached a controversial plea bargain agreement with the Farida Waziri-led EFCC, which dropped all but one of the 191 charges of corruption and money laundering against him.
In 2008, a Federal High Court in Enugu sentenced him to six months in prison with the option of a N3.5 million fine. The controversial plea bargain agreement he reached with the EFCC also required that he returned N500 million and three of the houses he acquired with alleged stolen public funds to the Federal Government.
However, there is no respite yet for Igbinedion as the Court of Appeal in Benin ruled on April 9, 2014 that he has a case to answer over a fresh 66-count money laundering and financial impropriety suit brought against him by the EFCC.
From all indications, the anti-corruption agencies are not resting on their oars as they appear determined to step up investigation and prosecution of these ex-governors who allegedly siphoned public funds while in office.