Inside a multi-billion naira property that landed suspended AGF in the EFCC network
Almost a week after agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested the beleaguered Federation Accountant General Ahmed Idris for allegedly embezzling 80 billion naira from the country’s coffers, tongues are raging again, many Nigerians expressing their shock at the surprising revelation of the anti-transplant body.
Agents from the anti-corruption agency picked up Idris on his way to Kano on Monday after he failed to honor several invitations extended to him.
As of Friday, the senior government official was still with the commission’s elite detectives answering various questions relating to money laundering and embezzlement of public funds. The commission alleged that Idris laundered the money through landholdings acquired in various locations.
Findings by Daily Trust on Sunday revealed that the embattled official acquired no less than 5 properties in the ancient city of Kano. Others were reported scattered in Lagos, Abuja, Dubai and London.
One of the properties allegedly owned by Idris includes the famous Al-Ikhlas supermarket located at Daneji in the city of Kano, which has been expanded through the acquisition of nearby houses.
It has been reliably established that Idris bought different properties in the ancient city, where he is already converting some of them into private schools and hospitals.
A resident of Daneji, who spoke to our correspondent anonymously, said that when it comes to buying land, Idris usually offers a higher price than the prevailing market price, which makes him the preferred buyer.
Other discoveries also revealed that the suspended AGF had different houses in Gandu neighborhoods worth millions of naira.
Along the same lines, Daily Trust reports on Sunday that his multi-million naira homes at Ladanai GRA, also in Kano, have also sparked curiosity and raised questions about the legality of AGF’s income as well as his spending spree.
Apart from other properties acquired in different areas, our correspondent’s checks also revealed that one of the properties used by his company, Gezawa Commodity and Exchange Market, located in the state’s Gezawa local government area, was valued at 4.5 billion naira.
The market has been granted an operational license to begin trading in 2021 by the Nigeria Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
A visit to the market showed that the market was designed in three phases on eight hectares of land for the first phase. Daily Trust observed on Sunday that the first phase had already been completed as business had since started.
Idris had at one point revealed that the land on which the commodity exchange market was located was family land which he had inherited and later acquired other land in the area to develop the market.
The venture was initially thought to be a private sector-led initiative, the first of its kind in Nigeria. The market would be the largest one-stop shopping center for domestic and export markets for international standard agricultural commodities in Nigeria integrated with one trading platform.
In 2020, when he received members of Kano Concern Citizens Initiative in his office, the suspended official said he had harbored the idea of developing the market since 2014 in order to develop agricultural enterprises and other enterprises in the state.
“It is the largest one-stop trade hub, it is a strategy to realize the goal of self-sufficiency, economic diversification and development of this country,” he had described the investment.
Some Nigerians, online and offline, have expressed their anger over the allegations against the AGF, saying they were in fact shocked at Idris’ audacity to withdraw such a sum of money from Nigeria’s vault. .
They based their concerns on the current situation of university and polytechnic teachers who had always been at odds with the Accountant General due to the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for the payment of salaries of federal civil servants.
Malam Kabiru Danladi, a senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, in an interview with Daily trust on Sunday, said Nigerians might be shocked but members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) were in no way surprised as they had since found out.
“Nigerians might be surprised but we members of ASUU are not surprised as we had uncovered his cutting edge practices where he used IPPIS to siphon off public funds, and we have since made it public,” said Danladi.
In the same vein, ASUU President Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke in an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Tuesday revealed that apart from the fact that IPPIS has abused ASUU members through IPPIS, many of them are still being paid salaries of between 8 and 13 months.
“We’ve said it over and over again that IPPIS is fraud. We’ve also said that the accountant general’s office is fraud, and they’re just using IPPIS to move all fraud activity to one center that is the accountant general’s office and we’ve been exonerated. That’s our position.
“This IPPIS I can tell you as we speak say a lot of our members haven’t been paid for 13 months, 8 months, 9 months but they’re telling the government they’re using it to control the corruption,” Osodeke said. .
The federal government announced on Wednesday the suspension of the embattled accountant general to allow for a full investigation.
In a letter announcing Idris’ suspension, Finance Minister Ms Zainab Ahmed warned the embattled public official not to come to the office at any time.
According to her, the suspension of the accountant general was in accordance with the rules of the civil service.
“Following your recent arrest by the EFCC on allegations of embezzlement and money laundering, I am writing to advise you of your suspension from work without pay effective May 18, 2022,” it read. part in the letter.