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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for securing from The Federal High Court, Abuja, a final forfeiture order of over $669,000 in two bank accounts linked to Abdulaziz Yari, former governor of Zamfara state.

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Chairman of the Centre, he stated, “The ICPC had instituted a suit, praying the court for the former governor to show cause why the money under investigation should not be forfeited to the federal government.

The anti-graft agency had alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activity. It accused Mr. Yari of illegally taking the money from the state’s coffers while he was governor. According to the commission, the victim of the alleged crime is the Zamfara government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria and innocent taxpayers which include judges of courts across Nigeria. It alleged that the former governor used the two companies to launder money in the state account.

While Mr Yari was the first respondent in the suit, his two companies; Kayatawa Nigeria Ltd and B. T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Ltd were second and third respondents respectively. Justice Taiwo Taiwo had, on August 16, 2019, granted the order for interim forfeiture of the assets in an exparte motion brought by the commission’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha. Justice Taiwo also ordered the ICPC to publish same in national dailies for any interested party to show cause why the money should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the judge, held that Yari could not prove how he earned the money. “There is nothing wrong in having huge sums of money in one’s account, but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses. The respondents, who have been given the opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income. The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants. The respondents having failed to establish the legitimate source of the monies as stated in this case, this honorable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the money domiciled in Zenith and Polaris Banks” Ojukwu said.

All this was after a painstaking, diligent and thorough investigation, coupled with brilliant prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

In our earlier press release dated 24th September, 2020, we called on anti-corruption agencies to immediately commence necessary investigation of former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari for alleged unlawful diversion of a whooping sum of N37.4 billion naira, being a refund from the federal government for the funds used by the former administration in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 14 federal roads in the state.

“We at CACOL, therefore, congratulate the ICPC for its meticulous and diligent prosecution of this high-brow corruption issue. This is a complete deviation from the past when it used to be catalogue of losses of such cases. We are delighted that, nowadays, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), seem to have learnt the rope by employing very competent lawyers and enforcing due diligence in investigation and prosecutorial departments before arraigning suspects in courts. This is a very laudable and cheering development, considering the multiplier and damaging effects of every strand of corruption case(s) lost to those the country reposed so much trust in and the betrayal they used in repaying such trust.

The Head of CACOL added, “The ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria deserve the commendation and appreciation of all patriotic Nigerians for their resoluteness and doggedness in stamping out corruption from our land. Every citizen of this great country should make it a point of duty to cooperate with the government in its bid to eliminate this cankerworm from our national fabric.

Tola Oresanwo

28th January, 2021

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