How We Stole, Shared N850 Million – Ministry Official

Yusuf-Agabi (3)

A principal witness in the on-going trial of officials of the Niger Delta Affairs ministry by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Kabiru Paloma, has told the court how the sum of N805 million was diverted and shared by some directors and staff of the ministry.

Yusuf Agabi and some other directors in the federal ministry of Niger Delta Affairs are being prosecuted for corruption and money laundering before Justice Husseini Baba of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court.

Paloma, who was personal assistant to Agabi and  Ayinla Abibu, a former Director Finance and Accounts, DFA, told the court that directors and staff were directly involved in what he termed as ‘pure stealing’ and described the alleged stealing process as ‘mopping up’.

Cross examined by counsel to the ICPC, Paul Bassi, the witness told the court that he suddenly found out that his personal accounts were confiscated by the anti-graft agency in 2014.

The witness, who was arrested for allegedly being used as a means of siphoning public funds, explained that he informed Agabi, his former boss, of how his accounts were being used by the ministry in 2013 to remit funds, but claimed his request never received any response and afterward he decided to “spill the beans”.

Paloma further informed the court that Ayinla, who became DFA in 2014, ordered a balance of N100 million be reserved from the 2013 constituency project that was being ‘mopped up’.

He claimed the Ayinla approved a transfer of N60million to his private account while the remaining N40million was to be shared by staff of the accounts department namely: one Dickson, Paloma, James Ihenacho and Daniel Oba, while some part went to staff of the Central Pay Office, CPO, of the ministry.

Asked to clarify what he meant by mopping up Paloma said “it was stealing” and continued that “the mopping up was done through his five companies namely: Kapola Nig Ltd, Sindabab Nig. Ltd, KP Energy solution, Balang Construction Nig. Ltd, Nadia Collections Nig. Ltd and my personal account with EcoBank”.






     

     

    According to him, trouble began when Ayinla directed that N333 million out of a total of N503 million that had been mopped up should be withdrawn and he demanded that the sum of N233 million should be paid to him.

    Paloma said he uncovered an addition of N192million after discovering a N100million with CBN and he went ahead to put the whole funds into his company accounts without the consent of Ayinla, but the secret came out when Ayinla demanded to pay a contractor N150million and discovered the account was empty and “when he asked me I had taken the money”.

    He told the court that it was during his arrest, detention, interrogation and investigation by the ICPC operatives into the misappropriated N805million that other stolen money in the ministry were discovered, with Yusuf Agabi indicted.

    Trial judge, Justice Baba has however adjourned further hearing of the case to 27th November.

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    1 COMMENT

    1. Agabi & others should be jailed and all the stolen money be recovered from them. The Military should conduct a house to house searsh for bombs and Boko Haram members in Damaturu.

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