By Tanimu Salihu Mafara
Few weeks ago, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has discovered billions of Naira in cash stashed in various houses of some serving governors.
It was confirmed by the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa that three serving state governors were being monitored over their moves to launder stashed billions of naira through the payment of salaries to workers.
The desperate move by these governors was connected to the announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that it will redesign some naira notes.
An independent investigation has exposed how the Zamfara State APC administration, under Governor Bello Matawalle has allegedly resorted to an illegal strategy of withdrawing cash funds from the state treasury.
It was further revealed how billions of cash were allegedly withdrawn from accounts linked to Zamfara State Government. The accounts are: Zamfara State Executive Governor’s Office UBA account number 1019753657, Zamfara State VAT Zenith Bank Account number 1014480255, Zamfara State FAAC UBA Account number 1001069140, Zamfara State ISPO Excess Bond Fidelity Bank account number 5030080649.
Other accounts include ACCOUNTANT GEN. (INC.) EDUCATION LEVY Zenith Bank Account number 1010990730, Permanent Secretary Government House Zenith Bank Account number 1014656551, Careers Special Services and Home Affairs Expenditure Directorate of Recruitment and Quota System Zenith Bank Account number 1014562564 and Zamfara State Accountant General Zenith Bank Account number 1010743572.
From 1st January 2019 to 13th August 2020, there were several cash and transfer transactions involving the accounts considered to have no socio-economic advantage to the State. The transactions were frequent fund transfers and subsequent cash withdrawals that disguised the true beneficiary of funds.
Our source has confirmed that a Federal Government Agency has forwarded an enquiry to the Zamfara State Government to explain the reasons for the frequent cash transactions. It was stated that most of the withdrawals are for the State Government’s administrative expenditures.
ZAMFARA STATE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE; UBA ACCOUNT number 1019753657
The signatory to the account is Kabiru Balarabe. His date of birth is given as 15th march, 1966. He is linked to phone number 08036528306 and a Bank Verification Number (BVN) 22252647440. The second signatory to the account is Bashir Salihu. His date of birth is 21st January 1975. He is linked to phone number 08065615828 and Bank Verification Number 22357054372.
ZAMFARA STATE FEDERAL ALLOCATION COMMITTEE (FAAC); UBA ACCOUNT NUMBER 1001069140
The account signatory is Abubakar Bello Ruwan Dorawa. His date of birth is given as 12th June 1960 also linked to phone number 07060596412 and BVN 22187364685. The second signatory is Aliyu Aminu Abubakar. His date of birth is 4th March, 1966 and he is linked to phone numbers 08062353333 and BVN 22187382919.
ZAMFARA STATE VAT; ZENITH BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER 1014480255 AND ZAMFARA STATE ACCOUNTANT GENERAL; ZENITH BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER 1010743572
The account has two signatories as follows; Abubakar Bello Ruwan Dorawa, with date of birth given as 12th June, linked to phone number 07060596412 and BVN 22187364685; and Aliyu Aminu Abubakar with a date of birth given as 4th March 1966 and linked to phone number 08062353333 and BVN 22187382919.
ZAMFARA STATE ISPO EXCESS BOND; FIDELITY BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER 5030080649
The account signatory is given as Maikano Yanruwa Mohd. His date of birth is given as 30th November 1969. He is identified with a phone number 08036271583 and linked to BVN 22258388901.
ACCOUNTANT GEN. (INC. ) EDUCATION LEVY ACCOUNT; ZENITH BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER 1010990730
The signatory to the account is given as ALIYU AMINU. His date of birth is 4th March 1966. He is linked to phone numbers 08062353333 and 08036525390. His address is the Ministry of Finance Gusau and No 1 Aminu Aliyu Tudun Wada Talata Mafara, Gusau Zamfara State. Subject is identified by National Identification Number ZF171966690 and a Driving license number GUS07579AA1 with an expiry date of 4th March, 2014. His BVN is 22259355515.
PERMANENT SECRETARY GOVERNMENT HOUSE; ZENITH BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER 1014656551
The account signatory is given as Saad Faruk. Subject is the class A signatory to the account. His date of birth is 21 st August 1960. The subject maintains phone number, 07088701058. His given address is Federal Low Cost Tudun Wada, Gusau Zamfara, and is identified with Nigerian Passport number A05779265. His BVN is 22207855209.
CAREERS SPECIAL SERVICES AND HOME AFFAIRS EXPENDITURE DIRECTORATE OF RECRUITMENT AND QUOTA SYSTEM ACCOUNT; Zenith Bank ACCOUNT NUMBER 1014562564
The account has two signatories as follows; Ismail Aminu with the date of birth given as 4th December 1960. He is linked to phone number 08030684995, and his given address is Tsamiyar Masaka Sect, Gusau, Zamfara State. His BVN is 22277594909. The subject also maintains International Passport number A03956684; UMAR ALIYU with the date of birth given as 1st September 1963, and phone number 08037726175. The subject’s address is House No 290 Damba Quarters, Gusau, Zamfara State.
Our finding has it that during the period under review from January 2019 to August 2020, the total value of the suspicious transactions reports (STRs) filed on the 8 accounts is N8, 345, 840, 600 (eight billion, three hundred and fifty-four million, four hundred and eighty thousand, six hundred Naira)
The total value of the Currency Transaction Reports (CTRS) filed on the 8 accounts in the reviewed period is N99, 413, 294, 133.06 (Ninety-nine billion, four hundred and thirteen million, two hundred and ninety four thousand, one hundred and thirty three Naira six kobo).
Deposit Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) accounted for 59%, amounting to N58, 645, 650, 977.06 (fifty eight billion, six hundred and forty five million, six hundred and fifty thousand, nine hundred and seventy seven Naira six Kobo).
Zamfara State Government VAT Zenith Bank account number 1014480255 received the highest deposit while Accountant General 1%, Educational Levy Zenith Bank account received the least deposit for the reported transactions.
The Office of The Executive Governor UBA account number 1019753657 also received funds from the State fertilizer sales account and Excess Bond ISPO accounts.
The analysis revealed that the 3 accounts operated by the Office of the State Governor which is UBA account number 1019753657, Zenith Bank account number 1017280841, and Guaranty Trust Bank account number 0216155676 received a total deposit of N9, 575, 949, 600 (nine billion, five hundred and seventy five million, nine hundred and forty nine thousand, six hundred Naira) of the filed Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs).
About 99% of the withdrawals from the office of The Executive Governor accounts were by cash. This account witnessed the most cash transaction; hence it is the most vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing.
During the period under review, the State VAT account and CAREERS, SPEC SER & HOME AFF EXP AC witnessed transactions in favour of Gusau Mobile Welfare Access Bank account number 0789711218 and D S S Oscar United Bank For Africa Plc Account number 1001821717. The accounts are highly likely linked to the Federal Government security apparatus.
The sum of 257, 000, 000 (Two hundred and fifty seven million naira only) was moved to Fatima H. Kamselem (Millennium Travel Tours), account number 0021302438 domiciled with GT Bank Plc, between 2nd January 2019 to 31st May 2019.
Zamfara State ISPO Excess Bond Account Number 5030080649 transferred funds to Zamfara State Executive Governor’s account. Zamfara State Government issued a Bond in 2015 for infrastructural development though there is no withdrawal from the Office of the Executive Governor account for infrastructural development purposes.
The ISPO Bond account transferred funds to several other accounts, including an account linked to Zamfara State Government. The nature of business of some beneficiaries did not indicate that they invested in the bond issue or are involved in the infrastructural development of Zamfara State.
The funds from Zamfara State local government are diverted into Careers Special Services and Home Affairs Expenditure Directorate of Recruitment and Quota System Zenith Bank Account Number 1014562564.
There is an indication of commingling of funds where funds from Zamfara State internal revenue, fertilizer sales and other accounts are paid into the VAT account.
Any concerned citizen of Zamfara State will be worried due to the nature of funds movement from one government account to the other. It is highly likely that there is a deliberate attempt to disguise the true beneficiary of funds. This method of operating government accounts and disbursing government funds does not promote accountability.
Also, due to the high level of cash transactions observed in the Zamfara State Executive Governor’s Account, one is inclined to believe that the accounts are vehicles used for laundering funds for Zamfara State government officials.
These records are clear that the proceeds from the Zamfara State Bond issue are being misappropriated. It is also likely that corporate vehicles, including tour companies are used to launder funds for corrupt government officials.
Furthermore, the diversion of funds from local government operated accounts into a State Government account is a deliberate attempt to circumvent the Financial Enforcement Agencies’ effort to reduce Crime Vulnerabilities Created by Cash Withdrawal from Local Government Funds throughout Nigeria.
Mafara is the Chairman of the Zamfara Alternative Forum