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October 16, 2006

ASSET DECLARATION: Code of Conduct indicts 15 govs

A list of governors suspected to be hiding their assets from corruption investigators has been leaked to the Daily Trust.

By Emmanuel Bello
Monday, October 16, 2006 / Ramadan 24, 1427

The Code of Conduct Bureau is set to charge 15 governors for “false declaration of assets”. The names were to be announced later this week, but the Daily Trust acquired a copy of a document prepared by a “task force” on corruption at the weekend.

The 10-page document lists properties both in Nigeria and around the world, cars, and bank accounts investigators have found to be owned by the governors but have not been declared on an official register as required by law.

The governors named are James Ibori of Delta, Lucky Igbinedion of Edo, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti, Boni Haruna, Adamawa, Gbenga Justus Daniel of Ogun, Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto,Ibrahim Saminu Turaki of Jigawa, Ahmad Makarfi of Kaduna, Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa, Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu, Achike Udenwa of Imo, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi and Bola Tinubu of Lagos.
The assets verification exercise began in June this year ordered by President Obasanjo. The task force comprised of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Prac-tices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Security Services (SSS). Nuhu Ribadu headed the task force.

According to the bureau, the governors indicted are guilty of various offences relating to assets declaration and in some cases, operating foreign accounts.

The report states that the governors got these properties or accounts “beyond legitimate means.”

In one case, assets the governor did not own were declared, thought to be a cover for other income.

The report says: “Some of the public officers had declared assets far above what they owned, as their declaration could not be substantiated. Some of the public officers did not declare some of the properties they acquired while in office. The issue of ownership of foreign account and late declaration was treated with levity.”

It continued that: “The consequences of the above is that so far, 15 governors have individually contravened some of the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Part 1 to the 5th schedule, especially on the issue of false declaration of assets and/or acquisition of properties outside legitimate means.”
The governors are to be brought before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, the report concludes.

Bola Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi, allegedly have 15 bank accounts in America and London. The report gives account numbers, sort codes and addresses for the accounts.

The report said James Ibori did not declare he owned all the property in a Lagos street named after himself, including a new mansion.
Gov. Fayose, the report said, acquired three houses in Lagos “outside legitimate means”.

Gov. Bafarawa is accused of not declaring a N200 million property in Lodon which he acquired when he took office. “He could not explain the source of funds,” the report said.

Gov. Makarfi acquired property “outside legitimate income” through nine proxy companies named in the report. The manager of the properties is also named.

A spokeswoman for the Code of Conduct Bureau, Uyim Akpabio, refused to comment on the report. When questioned by Daily Trust she said “I’m sorry I don’t speak to the press on the weekend.”
A spokesman for the Bayelsa state governor, Wilson Oyim, said: “the governor is aware of the existence of the report”. He denied the allegations saying they were politically motivated.

Mr. Jonathan who replaced D.S.P Alamieyeseigha earlier this year, did not declare a Lexus jeep worth N16m given to him. He also did not declare a BMW car worth N5.5 million, according to the report. He is also accused of not declaring a seven bedroom house he bought in 2001 in Otuke, Ogbia local government area and another four bedroom house worth 15 million acquired in 2003 on a street named after him in Yenagoa.

Abdulrasaq Namdas, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa state said: “The governor has declared all his assets and has nothing to hide. The truth is that he is being punished for his role in scuttling the third term. He is also consistent in his loyalty to the Vice President that is why they are doing this.”

Boni Haruna is indicted for “acquisition of properties beyond legitimate means: a mansion worth over N400m; office complex on Atiku Abubakar way, Yola; AP petrol station on Yola-Jimeta Road, Boni Haruna shopping complex, Mubi; Madugu petrol station.”

For Gov. Lucky Igbine-dion, the Bureau charged him for falsely making declaration in respects of “42 Oduduwa Way, Ikeja; concealment of information in respect of plot No. 12192 and 2449 located at Asokoro district, Abuja.”

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Lucky Wasa said it was impossible to comment as the Bureau “has not communicated the state officially.”

Two weeks ago governors came to Abuja and had a meeting at the house.
But the Director of Press Affairs to the Sokoto state government, Mustapha Musa, said Governor Attahiru Bafarawa was wrongly indicted.
He noted: “even the Bureau has absolved us of complicity in any misdeed. Our governor declared his assets recently and he is only waiting for May 29, 2007, to make another declaration. He was absolved over the house in London.”

Bafarawa is being accused of owning two duplexes acquired during the first term but were not declared.

He is also said to have acquired “a property in London at the cost of N200 million two years after assuming office but could not explain the source of funds.”

It would be recalled that the EFCC boss recently carpeted 31 governors for corruption, even as President Obasanjo swiftly distanced himself from the position of Ribadu.

The governors, emboldened by the president’s show of solidarity, also upbraided Ribadu for the remarks, noting that caution ought to be exercised in the fight against corruption.

The claims in the report could not be independently verified by Daily Trust before going to press.

Posted by Publisher at October 16, 2006 02:54 PM


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