FRESH facts have emerged as to why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the government of Oyo State had a brush last week, leading to the institution of a suit before the Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan.
Investigations by Sunday Tribune indicated at the weekend that the current Oyo State government is actually not the real target of EFCC’s ongoing investigations.
The anti-graft body has been striving hard to break the riddle behind the disappearance of N13 billion from the state’s coffers in 2014.
“The investigations are all targeted at the disappearance of N13 billion from Oyo State in 2014/2015. We got wind of it in 2017 and we have been on it,” a source said.
The source close to the EFCC said that the incumbent government in Oyo State might just be guilty of “inherited liability” as the agency is still at a loss over the disappearance almost without trace, of the sum of N13 billion from the state’s accounts between 2014 and 2015.
The desire to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the huge sum was said to have informed the decision by officials of the anti-graft agency to try and understand the pattern the state regularly adopts in spending of funds captured in its Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) and the security vote.
The source disclosed that what looked like a probe of the current state authorities was merely a decoy targeted at establishing a possible pattern of spending that led to the disappearance of the huge sum during the administration of the immediate past government in the state.
“The questions that were being asked and the documents requested from the Accountant General, Alhaji Gafar Bello, were to enable the anti-graft agency understand if there is any clue that can inform it of the established pattern of disbursement and expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the state that could enable the disappearance of the sum of N13 billion through a commercial bank (name withheld).
Reports in the traditional media and online in 2017 had indicated that the EFCC got wind of the disappearance of the sum of N13bn through suspicious lodgements in a commercial bank believed by the EFCC to be proceeds of crime and outright diversion of public funds.
An EFCC official described the missing Oyo State money through some suspicious transactions in a commercial bank as “proceeds of crime, particularly money laundering and outright diversion of public funds.”
It was gathered that the said money was diverted from Oyo State between 2014 and 2015 and that the money found its way into some secret accounts operated by the top hierarchy of the bank in connivance with officials of the state government.
Sources said that the top hierarchy of the EFCC was unhappy that years after the discovery of the missing N13 billion, investigators were yet to bring the matter to a substantive close.
It is the determination to establish the whereabouts of the missing money that informed the need to seek to establish whether there is a regular pattern of spending within the system of the state government, especially the expenditure on security that could leave room to the disappearance of such a huge sum.
A source in the know said: “The EFCC is concerned about the money that has been missing since 2014. That is why the incumbent Accountant General was being questioned on whether the state usually raises invoices or whether it is in possession of other receipts that cover expenditure of security vote. The intention was not to harass any official but to help provide insights into what could have informed the disappearance of the huge sum.”
Last week, the EFCC and the government of Oyo State engaged in a face-off which led to the arrest and interrogation of the state’s Accountant General.
The state government accused the Commission of harassment and dragged the matter before a Federal House Court, sitting in Ibadan.
•Source: Sunday Tribune