19th July 2024
Crime & Investigation National News News

Fraud: EFCC Grills 20 NSCDC Contractors, 10 Officers Over N7.5bn

NSCDC Operatives

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is probing 10 senior officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps over an alleged N7.5bn fraud.

The anti-graft agency has also invited 10 contractors linked with the alleged fraud.

The EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had on April 26, 2024, written a letter to the NSCDC CG, inviting the 10 indicted NSCDC officers for questioning.

According to a document exclusively obtained by our correspondent, the officers involved were scheduled to be questioned by the EFCC from May 2, 2024, and beyond.

The 10 invited NSCDC officers are – Victor Olanrewaju Fayemi, Anthony Akpan Uwen, Patrick Babatunde, Comfort Danladi,  Akibi Michael Olusola, Umaru Usman Karshi, Adewale Kukoyi, Joseph Ajayi Ibitulo, and Mrs A.A. Jonathan, Paul Ahepa, the EFCC invitation revealed.

The alleged N7.5bn fraud was linked to several contractors and the monies traced to some Bureau de Change operators through whom the senior NSCDC officers allegedly laundered the money.

Impeccable sources privy to the development, but were not authorised to speak to the press due to the sensitive nature of the matter, disclosed the development to our correspondent.

A source revealed, “The EFCC is investigating the alleged diversion of N7.5bn by contractors working with the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Ahmed Audi.

“The funds shared to contractors’ accounts have been identified and linked to BDC operators, all of whom were invited and have been grilled by the EFCC interrogators.”

It was learnt that the contractors involved in the alleged fraud were also invited for questioning as the EFCC investigation progressed.

A source noted, “EFCC investigators discovered that payments were made to a total of 20 contractors, while the sum of N2bn was allocated to three major contractors each of whom own five companies. Each of the contractors received a retention fee of five per cent. The EFCC has sent invitation letters to the contractors.

“All the contractors have been interrogated except for the only woman amongst them who has been working tirelessly to avoid interrogation. The woman received over N1bn, and all the funds were discovered to have been converted to US dollars.”

Further confirming the development, another impeccable source revealed that the indicted contractors had made useful statements that led to the recovery of about N1bn by the EFCC.

The source said, “The contractors made useful statements that led to the recovery of approximately N1bn by the EFCC.

“One of the contractors informed us that they were planning to start a protest at the office of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, to seek assistance, as they feel that Ribadu is the only senior Federal Government official who can help them reach out to the NSCDC CG.

“They confessed that they applied for jobs as contractors, only to learn that the jobs were already executed on their behalf by senior NSCDC officers.”

Further revelations about the matter indicated that a certain indicted contractor, amongst others, had yet to honour the EFCC’s invitation.

The contractor was said to have received N1bn.

 “It was discovered that at the NSCDC, these payments were meant for jobs that had already been executed, but the contractors whose companies’ names were attached to the contracts had not been paid,” the source said.

Meanwhile, our correspondent further gathered that EFCC investigators discovered that NSCDC staff members were underpaid for the recently-concluded elections, as sources at the NSCDC claimed that the staff members were underpaid compared to staff members at other sister agencies.

The PUNCH had on Tuesday reported that senior officers were being grilled by EFCC interrogators at the commission’s Headquarters, Jabi, Abuja.

Our correspondent exclusively gathered that the NSCDC officers were handed over to the EFCC on the order of the NSCDC CG, Audi.

Impeccable sources privy to the development but were not authorised to speak, revealed that the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, had earlier written a letter to the NSCDC CG, Audi, asking the latter to release his officers for interrogation.

Both the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, and the mouthpiece for the NSCDC, Babawale Afolabi, could not be reached for comments on Tuesday, as phone calls and text messages to their phone lines were not responded to nor returned.

Meanwhile, when earlier contacted for comments on Monday, the spokesperson for the NSCDC, Afolabi, said he was not aware of the development.

“I’m not aware of this,” Afolabi said in a terse WhatsApp message sent to our correspondent on Monday.

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