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How Fashola got enmeshed in N4.6b public funds theft saga

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Former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, and former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola is currently battling to expunge himself from a N4.6 billion embezzlement scandal.

Reports show that N4.6 billion public funds was stashed away in private accounts while he, Mr. Raji Fashola, was the Minister.

 

The massive fraud perpetrated by officials of the Ministry is in direct contravention of Sections 7, 701 and 713 of the country’s financial regulations.

Section 713 clearly states that no “public money shall be paid into a private bank account” and that “an official who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intentions”.

Nigerians are still reeling with shock by the  revelations that between September and December 2019 alone, the sum of N4.6 billion was manipulated by light-fingered official.

The money was reportedly stolen through fraudulent payments in 654 tranches, without any explanatory details to 21 private accounts.

The accounts, ElombahNews gathered, belonged to some faceless individuals and certain directors in the then Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, under Fashola.

Nigerians are, therefore, calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, which prides itself in anti-corruption fight, not only to probe Fashola, but also to show evidence of doing so.

They also called on Fashola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria [SAN], to immediately come clean over his role in the stealing spree.

One such analyst expressed indignation at “the much orchestrated anti-corruption stance and “holier than thou” attitude of the Buhari-led presidency”.

Another public opinion commentator noted the pattern and route of this fraud, saying it “points to a high level conspiracy to funnel out funds from the ministry to service some higher interests”.

He argued that the revelation explained why and how the nation’s power, housing and road infrastructure remained in a dilapidated condition despite the huge resources allocated for their development.

The present administration have repeatedly been accused of reckless plunder and looting of resources meant for national development, worse yet, blaming it on past administrations.

Another commentator noted: “If a whooping N4.6 billion is exposed to have been stolen in a space of two months in one ministry, one can only imagine how much has been stolen in the last five years in various ministries and departments by officials of the Buhari administration.”

There are also calls on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Fashola and all others mentioned in this alleged fraud and prosecute them if they are found wanting.

Similarly, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has been fingered in a N2.5 billion deal involving the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Whistleblowers have dragged the Minister to court to come and clear himself or face the wrath of the law if found guilty.

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