Governor Matawalle Faces EFCC Investigation for Alleged Diversion of N70 Billion
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has initiated an investigation into Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state, following allegations of a massive fraud amounting to N70 billion. The anti-graft agency has confirmed that former Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, who was recently apprehended for an alleged N22 billion fraud, is still in custody. In response to recent comments made by Governor Matawalle, urging the EFCC chairman to widen the scope of the investigation to include officials in the presidency, the EFCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Osita Nwajah, addressed the issue during a press conference in Abuja to clarify the situation.
The accusations against Governor Matawalle involve the diversion of funds through the use of intermediaries and contractors who received payments for contracts that were never executed. According to ongoing investigations, it has been discovered that over 100 companies received payments from these funds without providing any evidence of services rendered to the state. Furthermore, the EFCC has obtained statements from certain contractors who claim that they were allegedly coerced by the governor into returning the funds they received from the state coffers, after converting them into United States Dollars through his aides.
Nwajah emphasized that the EFCC anticipates more unsubstantiated allegations from Matawalle and warns that those under investigation will vigorously defend themselves. However, the primary concern regarding Governor Matawalle remains the ongoing investigation by the EFCC, which revolves around allegations of massive corruption, the awarding of fictitious contracts, and the diversion of over N70 billion. The funds, supposedly acquired as a loan from an older generation bank, were intended for various projects across the local government areas of the state. However, it is alleged that the governor diverted the funds through intermediaries and contractors who were paid for contracts that were never executed.
Specific instances of fraudulent activities have come to light during the investigations. One well-known Abuja property developer, for instance, received N6 billion for a N10 billion contract without providing any services to Zamfara state. In another case, a contractor received over N3 billion for a medical equipment supply contract, but the EFCC traced a payment of N400 million from the contractor’s account to a Bureau de Change operator. The contractor reportedly confessed that the payment was intended to obtain the equivalent amount in United States Dollars for the state governor.