The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has denied the claim by the outgoing governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle that its chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, allegedly demanded $ 2 million as a bribe from him.
Mr Matawalle in an interview with BBC Hausa on Friday accused Mr Bawa, of asking for the bribe.
The governor is under investigation by the anti-corruption agency over the alleged pocketing of N70 billion from the Zamfara State government coffers.
The EFCC said the governor allegedly siphoned Zamfara’s funds sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank purportedly for the execution of projects in local governments in the state. The anti-graft commission said the governor used proxies who posed as contractors for the projects and got paid but did not execute the projects.
In the interview, Mr Matawalle accused the EFCC of targeting only governors while ignoring officials with budgetary allocation at the federal level.
“It is not just to always blame governors. It is not only governors who have treasury, the federal government also has. What does the EFCC boss do to them? As he is claiming he has evidence on governors, let him show the world evidence of those at the federal level.
“If he exits office, people will surely know he is not an honest person. I have evidence against him. Let him vacate the office, I am telling you within 10 seconds probably more than 200 people will bring evidence of bribes he collected from them. He knows what he requested from me but I declined.
“He requested a bribe of two million dollars from me and I have evidence of this. He knows the house we met, he invited me and told me the conditions. He told me governors were going to his office but I did not. If I don’t have evidence, I won’t say this,” the governor said in the interview.
But in a swift response, the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, dared the governor to provide evidence to back his claim. Mr Uwujaren said the commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has been drawn to a trending interview granted to the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC, by Bello Muhammed Matawalle, governor of Zamfara State, where he allegedly made wild bribery allegations against the Executive Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa
“(Mr) Matawalle’s recourse to mudslinging is symptomatic of a drowning man clutching at straws. But despite the irritation of his phantom claims, the Commission will not be drawn into a mud fight with a suspect under its investigation for corruption and unconscionable pillage of the resources of his state.
“If Matawalle will be taken seriously, he should go beyond sabre-rattling by spilling the beans – provide concrete evidence as proof of his allegations,” Mr Uwujaren said.
Meanwhile, the official said the commission is collaborating with international partners to foil a plan by some alleged corrupt officials planning to flee Nigeria before May 29.
“Again, the Commission wishes to alert the public about plans by some of the alleged corrupt politically exposed persons to flee the country ahead of May 29.
“The Commission is working in close collaboration with its international partners to frustrate these escape plans and bring those involved to justice,” the official’s statement said.
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