By Balkis Tijani.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has confiscated the passports of 34 top officials of former governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, over a N22 billion London-Paris Club refund.
The EFCC, in a statement by its Head of Media & Publicity, Tony Orilade said the Ilorin Zonal Office of the commission has submitted the particulars of individuals on its watch-list and under investigations in the state to the Kwara State Command of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
Orilade also revealed that the Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, through the Ilorin Zonal Head of the Commission, Isyaku Sharu had informed the Comptroller of the Kwara State Command of the Immigration Service, Edith Onyemenam of the plan of the officials whose passports were seized to procure police reports in a bid to deceive the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) into issuing them new passports to facilitate their escape from the country.
Magu was quoted as saying: “The need to familiarise the NIS with the particulars of such personalities under EFCC’s investigation became necessary following intelligence at the disposal of the commission that some highly-placed individuals undergoing corruption probe and on the commission’s watch-list in the state have procured forged police reports with which they plan to apply for new international passports to escape from the country.
“Information at the disposal of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Ilorin reveals that these highly placed individuals are planning to use forged police reports to re-apply for new international passports to flee the country in other to escape prosecution and justice. The commission urges you to use your good office to place these individuals under strict surveillance.”
A source within the Ilorin Zonal office of the EFCC who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity, said: “There are monumental cases of fraud already uncovered in Kwara State during the tenure of the ex-governor. We may need to call for reinforcement to be able to conduct the different dimensions of the ongoing probe.
“So far, we have seized the international passports of 34 former commissioners and top government functionaries during the administration of ex-Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
“Out of the 34, about 10 former officers have been watch-listed to prevent them from escaping abroad. And if they travel out, we can effect their arrest in any jurisdiction.
“The list of the short-listed suspects has been sent to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to prevent them from acquiring new passports.”
See names of the ex-Kwara officials involved: