JUST IN: N551bn Fraud: EFCC Arrests Serving Senator, Abia Assembly Speaker
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday apprehended former governor of Abia State and serving Senator Theodore Orji and his son Chinedu Orji over an alleged N551bn fraud.
Orji represents Abia Central Senatorial district at the Nigerian Senate while his son is Abia state house of Assembly Speake.
The arrest follows weeks of investigation into the financial dealings of Orji and his son when the former held sway as the governor of the state between 2007 and 2015.
EFCC on March 8 disclosed that it had launched an investigation into alleged diversion of over N551 billion by a former Abia State Governor, and his son while serving as the governor of the state.
LagosTimes reports that the anti-graft agency said it commenced the investigation was consequent upon a petition by a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group, alleging that the former governor diverted various sums of money that belongs to the state government.
In a petition made available to the media by the EFCC, the funds include N383 billion revenue from federal accounts, N55 billion excess crude revenue, N2.3 billion Sure P funds and N1.8 billion ecological funds. Other monies allegedly diverted are N10.5 billion loan from First Bank Plc through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, N4 billion loan from Diamond Bank, N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion agricultural loan for farmers and N55 billion ASOPADEC funds.
The petition alleged that the Orji-led administration received the funds, though there were no commensurate projects on the ground to match the received funds. It alleged that Theodore Orji, who was a Chief of Staff to his convicted predecessor, Orji Kalu, was the authorising officer drawing N500 million monthly purported to be security vote, which was allegedly diverted.
According to the petition, when Orji became the governor in 2007, Theodore Orji continued “to withdraw the N500 million cash monthly from June 2007 to May 2015. “The N500 million is not part of the security funds expended on the Nigerian Police, The Nigerian Army, DSS, Navy anti-Kidnapping Squad, anti-robbery Squad, purchase of security equipment and vehicles for the security agencies,” the petition said.
EFCC later extended the probe to his family members to ascertain the link and culpability of the ex-governors first son, Chinendum Orji Eyinanya, who is currently the Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly.
The anti-graft agency also said it had discovered about 100 accounts in different banks, with over 80 per cent of the accounts still very active. The accounts, which were both corporate and individual, received so much deposit in cash without evidence of job or services rendered. The EFCC investigation revealed that Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805 was traced to Chinedum.
“The company received a deposit of $20, 849, 044.21. The same company with another account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
“Fotoworld has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229, $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939 between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.”
The probe by the EFCC showed that the GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 billion between February 2009 and July 2014.
Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805, also traced to Chinedum, received a deposit of $20, 849, 044.21.
According to the EFCC, the same company with account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
The same company, Fotoworld, has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are 2026144229 with $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 with the same bank housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939 with the same bank, between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.