For allegedly converting 12 Peugeot 508 vehicles belonging to the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) for private use and going away with them, former NASC Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Fika, and all immediate past commissioners who served with the NASC, have been indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
As a result, the EFCC has ordered that the vehicles be immediately returned while the indicted commissioners are to face prosecution for alleged conspiracy and criminal conversion of public property.
The EFCC said it relied on section 38 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended.
The anti-graft body is equally questioning the propriety of the approval by National Assembly Presiding Officers, which the indicted retired commissioners relied on to convert the vehicles to their private uses.
It was learned that former Clerk of the National Assembly, Muhammed Ataba Sani Omolori, who left office in July, is also being queried on his alleged role in the matter.
Omolori, had in a letter dated July 18, 2018, conveyed the approval of the Presiding Officers of the Senate and House of Representatives to the effect that the National Assembly Commissioners could go away with their last official vehicles in line with the extant practice at the National Assembly and as requested by the former National Assembly Commissioners.
Omolori’s letter, which was addressed to the Secretary of NASC, with reference number NASS/ CNA/160/Vol13/582 and titled, ‘Re: Request For Your Clarification Of The Pool Vehicles Of The Outgoing Members Of National Assembly Service Commission,’ read: “I write with reference to your letter NASC/CNA/43/11/37, dated 17th July 2018, on the above subject matter and to confirm that officers who retired from the National Assembly Service Commission at the level of Secretary or Director have always been allowed to go away with their last official vehicle either on payment of fixed prices or for free.
“Further, I wish to convey to you the no objection of the Presiding Officers to allow the present National Assembly Service Commissioners/Secretary go away with their last official vehicles – Peugeot 508. The Procurement Directorate is also being advised to conclude the auctioning of the Hilux to the Commissioners to enable them to pay the auction price and possess the vehicles accordingly.”
However, the EFCC in a counter directive through a letter dated August 20, 2020, to the acting secretary of NASC, and signed by its Abuja zonal head, Ahmad Sa’ad Abubakar, for the Acting Executive Chairman, asked the retired NASC chairman and commissioners to return those vehicles before Thursday, September 3, 2020.
The EFCC’s letter reads: “We refer to the case of the alleged conspiracy and criminal conversion of public property involving the erstwhile chairman and commissioners of your commission.
“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to inform the under listed former commissioners to return the official vehicles – 508 cars attached to them on or before September 3, 2020. And to those who have already disposed of their cars, your office should value it on its appropriate government value price for repayment to government, pending the conclusion of the investigation into the matter.”
The letter listed those concerned to include the former NASC Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Fika, as well as other former commissioners including Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, Alhaji Abubakar Garba Rufai, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abugi, Elder Stephen Yepwi, Mrs. Riskat Oyebimpe Alabi, Barrister Oluwafunmilola Lamuye, Hon. Abe Chukwu, Hon. Godfrey Dikeocha, Senator Dahiru Gassol, Mallam Idi Adamu Ningi and Dr. Paul Oweh.
According to the EFCC letter, “This request is made pursuant to section 38 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended.”