Alao Akala, Gbenga Daniel, Doma To Face Trial in The Respective States

EFCC EFCC •EFCC rejects ex-governors’ request for prosecution in Abuja •Goje returns from UK, reports to anti-graft agency today

Oct 10, 2011 – Alao Akala, Gbenga Daniel, Doma To Face Trial in The Respective States

The detained former Oyo, Ogun and Nasarawa Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala, Gbenga Daniel and Aliyu Akwe Doma will face trial in their states, it was learnt yesterday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is said to have rejected their requet to be tried in Abuja for alleged N101 billion fraud.

Alao-Akala is accused of N25 billion fraud, Daniel, N58 billion and Doma, N18 billion.

Sources hinted last night that they may also be charged with money laundering at the Federal High Court.

Another former governor, Danjuma Goje of Gombe State, who was declared wanted, over the weekend, returned home yesterday from the United Kingdom (UK).

He has promised to report at the EFCC office in Abuja today.

The EFCC, a source said, refused Alao-Akala, Daniel and Doma’s request for trial in Abuja to prevent them from challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

Some former governors arraigned in Abuja in the past challenged the court’s jurisdiction and won.

The EFCC may also have obtained the list of foreign accounts of the former governors and those used to launder money abroad.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are going to split the trial of the ex-governors. While they will face trial for stealing at the State High Court, they will be charged separately with money laundering at the Federal High Court.

“The truth is that the Federal High Court cannot entertain some issues bordering on stealing depending on the law under which the governors are charged.

“Their trial will take the shape of some former bank chiefs who are facing trial at the Lagos State High Court and the Federal High Court on different charges. 

“We are likely to move them to their various states for trial contrary to their plea that they prefer Abuja. We want to avoid a situation whereby any of the suspects will challenge the jurisdiction of the court to try them.”

The source added: “We are probing the alleged foreign accounts of some of the ex-governors and their accomplices, including contractors, who laundered money abroad for them.

Contacted, the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, who initially declined comments, Mr Femi Babafemi, said: “We may split the trial of the ex-governors.”

Of the N25billion allegedly mismanaged by Alao-Akala, he was said to have deducted N8.2billion from the Excess Crude Funds of the 33 local government Areas in Oyo State to finance 155-kilometer special road projects.

Each of the 33 councils was forced to part with N250million for the projects.

About five-kilometre road was planned for each council at N250million.

Alao-Akala is expected to shed light on: why the said deduction was not backed by law; diversion of a part of the fund; inflation of road contracts in some councils; and non-execution of the projects in some local governments.

Before his arrest, a six-man panel raised by the EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri, had isolated some allegations against Daniel.

The allegations are: “Diversion of about N12billion revenue in Ogun State Bureau of Lands and Survey.

“Non-remittance of N1billion deducted from Ogun State workers’ salaries.

“Fraudulent and illegal payment of an amount of N1bilion purportedly as counterpart funding for water projects.

“Illegal debt servicing to the tune of N5.2billion as against an appropriation of N350million for the same purpose in 2009.

“Payment of N300million electricity utility charges by the State Electricity Project Agency despite direct deduction of same from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“Diversion of N500million agricultural loan granted by National Agricultural Credit Bank for Rural Development.

“Diversion to cronies and associates an amount totalling N5billion in the name of salaries and allowances under the Contingency and Miscellaneous of the Office of the Governor.

“Questionable transfer and disposal of government-owned enterprises and investment portfolio of over N15billion by Gateway Holding without enabling law or House of Assembly approval.

“Illegal purchase of 20 refurbished graders to the tune of N950million for Local Government Areas and subsequent deductions from their allocations on monthly basis.

“Illegal purchase of 20 Toyota Prado Jeeps to the tune of N200million for LGAs and subsequent illegal deduction of same from their accounts and allocations.

“Fraudulent procurement of loans from various financial institutions (mostly banks) amounting to over N22billion without approval from the House of Assembly.” 

The allegations against Doma include inflation of contracts; duplication of contracts; mismanagement of Local Government Joint Account. (The Nation)