- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) have been urged to launch an investigation on the financial activities of a Benue state lawmaker
- A petition has been written against Godday Samuel accusing him of allegedly diverting funds and collecting COVID-19 loan kickbacks
- According to the petitioners, the COVID-19 intervention funds and loan were paid by NIRSA Microfinance Bank directly into a bank account belonging to one Benard Ekah Musa
The lawmaker representing Apa/Agatu federal constituency, Godday Samuel, has been dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for alleged COVID-19 loan kickbacks.
Joined in the petition seen by Legit.ng were Ekah Benard Musa, Ogweje Usman Ngbede (Victor) and several others who are said to be his aides.
The petition, which was written to the anti-graft agencies by Barrister James Hope of Choicevine Legal & Consulting, on behalf of Sunday Philip and Ehoche J. Ehoche, accused Godday and the others of mismanagement, extortion, criminal conspiracy, misrepresentation and illegal diversion of COVID-19 intervention funds.
In the petition, the complainants alleged that the funds diverted by Samuel and his cronies are loans meant for the benefit of some constituents in the Apa/Agatu federal constituency Of Benue state.
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The petitioners further alleged that in some instances, the COVID-19 intervention funds and loan were paid by NIRSA Microfinance Bank directly into a bank account belonging to one Benard Ekah Musa.
It noted that Musa, a senior legislative aide to Samuel received the funds in his account before they then dispersed indiscriminately to some selected constituents using a partial consideration.
Expectations from EFCC and ICPC
The petitioners called on the anti-graft agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the above-mentioned suspects with a view to determining their involvement in the covid-19 intervention funds/loans alleged fraud.
The petition reads in part:
"Our Clients are social/developmental right crusaders and public accountability advocates. The Commission would recall that there was a global lockdown owing to the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus in 2019.
"The Commission would further recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria released various amounts of funds to citizens so as to cushion the negative impacts of the lockdown. Some of the covid-19 intervention funds were packaged in the form of soft loans while others were disbursed in the form of outright grants."
According to the petitioners, it is common knowledge that the COVID-19 intervention funds and loans were principally disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria's funded NIRSA Microfinance Bank.
They said it may interest the commission to know that Samuel is the current House of Representatives member, representing the good but impoverished people of Apa/Agatu federal constituency in the National Assembly.
The other suspects mentioned herein are his aides. Our clients had received numerous complaints from some constituent members of the Apa/Agatu Federal constituency regarding the disbursement of the covid-19 intervention funds/loans.
It was alleged that the office of a certain Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi connived with some staff of the NIRSAL Microfinance bank to receive kickbacks out of the total amount of monies of the COVID-19 intervention funds and loans released to the constituents.
"The alleged criminal scheme involved the suspects mentioned hereto in this petition and some other aides of the Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi wherein it was that they collected various sums of monies out of the covid-19 intervention funds and loans via their bank account numbers on the false pretence that the kickbacks were needed by the CBN personnel in order to facilitate future fund release."
It was also alleged that in some instances, the Covid-19 intervention funds/loan were paid by NIRSA Microfinance Bank directly into a bank account belonging to one Benard Ekah Musa who is a senior legislative aide to the Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi which funds were then dispersed indiscriminately to some selected constituents using a partial consideration.
The petitioners said:
"It is strange why NIRSAL Microfinance Bank Political would allegedly pay loan monies belonging to numerous beneficiaries into a single bank account of a political aide for disbursement is an abuse of due process and capable of breeding corruption.
"This allegation of a criminal conspiracy needs to be painstakingly investigated so as to restore the waning hope of the citizenry of any future intervention programmes that may be embarked upon by the Federal Government of Nigeria."
It was also alleged that Some of the constituents who were the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Loans were also deceived and directed to remit various sums of money in cash out of their COVID-19 intervention funds/loans and the same were handed over to the aides of the Hon Godday Samuel Odagboyi and some other persons nominated by them.
The petitioners' prayers to the anti-graft agencies
The petitioners prayed the anti-graft agencies to specifically undertake the following actions:
To conduct a thorough investigation into the above-mentioned suspects with a view to determining their involvements in the covid-19 intervention funds/loans alleged fraud, to thoroughly examine the staff of the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank and the relevant public/civil servants and to also x-ray and carefully analyze all the bank account numbers and other financial records of the Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi, Benard Ekah Musa, Hon. Ogweje Usman Ngbede (Victor) and any other aides, cronies, staff, friends, political/business associates and family members.
According to the petitioners, the agencies show respectfully determine whether Samuel Odagboyi unlawfully derived any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit from the proceeds of the kickbacks of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans meant for the constituents of Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency.
They also prayed the agencies to thoroughly investigate NIRSA Microfinance Bank and determine whether all the laid down due-process were followed in the release of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans to the constituents of Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency.
This they said should show whether any unauthorized persons were allowed to illegally benefit from the covid-19 intervention funds/loans in an improper manner contrary to the CBN guidelines and the anti-corruption policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
"To interact with the constituent members of the Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency so as to determine the extent of the fraud scheme and the quantum of funds involved with a view to taking appropriate restorative/recovery measures against the fraudsters and their cronies.
"To investigate and prosecute any person or persons found to have committed any infraction in relation to the covid-19 intervention funds/loans released to the constituents of Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency. vi Extend the investigation to cover any other covid-19 palliative materials meant for the constituents of Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency with a view to determining if there has been an element of diversion, material hoarding, theft and embezzlement contrary to the extant Nigerian penal laws."
In conclusion, the petitioners said:
"Our clients are available and they will be eager to provide any relevant information and documents at their disposal and to also take the team of investigators to interface with the victims of the covid-19 intervention funds/loans alleged scam to aid their investigation.
Our clients wish to use this medium to pledge their unwavering loyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his anti-corruption crusade. Our clients truly count on the Commission's wise and prompt action, please."
Forgery: APC lawyers petition screening committee, want Benue Reps aspirant, Oche disqualified
In another event, lawyers within the All Progressives Congress had called on the party to ensure that a House of Representatives aspirant is disqualified.
The call was made by the lawyers in a petition dated May 14 and sent to the national secretariat of the ruling party.
According to the lawyers, if Oche is allowed to fly the flag of the party, they wonder what would become the fate of the APC.
Forgery: CSO reacts as police release detained Benue APC Reps aspirant
The release of an aspiring lawmaker by the police had generated a reaction from a civil society organisation.
The National Liberty and Justice Movement (NLJM) urged the police to ensure that the agency is not intimidated by threats from politicians in Benue.
According to the organisation, the law should be allowed to take its course in the case of forgery and perjury against Engineeer Sunday Oche.