There are indications that the corruption cases against some former governors may be revisited by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.
This followed the successful prosecution and jailing of an ex-governor of Abia State Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, a serving senior lawmaker whose trial took the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) more than a decade before EFCC got a satisfactory judgement in court.
The Court slammed Orji Kalu with a 12-year jail term for N7.2bn fraud when he was a governor, the case was buried until the APC-led government’s anti-corruption war swept him off.
Is Kalu the first corrupt former governor?
Kalu was the not the first former governor to be sentenced for corruption charges, others who had been charged for similar offences are:
- Jolly Nyame of Taraba. He was sentenced on May 30, 2018 to 14-year jail term for diverting N1.64 billion.
- Joshua Dariye of Plateau on June 18, 2018 bagged a 14-year jail term for misuse of N1.162 billion ecological funds.
- On March 6, 2017, EFCC was successful in convincing a court how Bala Ngilari of Adamawa State for awarding N167m contract without due process. History will not forget Chief James Ibori of Delta State for laundering $250m.
In a latest detailed report by Yusuf Alli of The Nation Newspapers, it’s gathered that former governors across the country whose corruption cases seemed to have been swept under carpet may have tough days ahead with EFCC in court after successful jailing of Senator Kalu.
The report specifically listed the ex-governors that may be jailed as Kalu, if EFCC was able to convince the court that they indeed used states’ coffers for personal gains.
- Senator Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu
- Peter Odili of Rivers state
- Saminu Turaki of Jigawa
- Martins Elechi of Ebonyi
- Gabriel Suswam of Benue
- Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo
- Murtala Nyako of Adamawa.
- Ayo Fayose of Ekiti
- Gbenga Daniel of Ogun
- Ikedi Ohakim of Imo
- Sule Lamido of Jigawa
It’s also revealed that if EFCC could jail Kalu 12 years after he committed the crime as the governor of Abia, it means the anti-graft agency is optimistic of getting similar judgments against others listed above assumed to have case to answer.
Specifically, The Nation Report quoted a source as saying, “We decided to hold a review session on how to fast-track the conclusion of some of these cases. We have instances where some ex-governors have forfeited choice assets but awaiting the conclusion of their cases by a court.
“Some ex-governors have either deliberately delayed trial by hiding under the guise of ill-health or some frivolous applications that will run from the High Court to the Supreme Court and slowing down of trial through adjournments.
“A few others have accused judges of unethical practices leading to the reassignment of their cases. We know those we are dealing with and their capacity
“Our main goal is to see how we can collaborate with the Judiciary within the framework of the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJA) to hasten these trials. We want to remove or limit all legal obstacles,” according to a source.
For instance, Nnamani was arraigned for allegedly diverting about N4.5billion Excess Crude cash.
Again, Ohakim was accused of purchasing a property at 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Plot No 1098, Cadastral ZoneA04, Asokoro District, Abuja with cash payment of $2.29m which was said to be dollar equivalent of N270m in November 2008.
While Suswam was re-arraigned together with his former Commissioner for Finance, Omadachi Oklobi, in September on N3.1 billion money laundering charges. Suswam, who is the Senator representing Benue North East, and his co-defendant, pleaded not guilty.
Will other former governors who have corruption cases against them jailed?