From Ogundele Olanrewaju
Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, has been arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report.
Those familiar with the development said Mr Idris was intercepted in Kano by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday evening and is being flown to Abuja, the nation’s capital, for interrogation.
Our sources said the EFCC has for sometime now been investigating a case of diversion of at least N80 billion in public funds which was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts.
The companies used in laundering the funds have allegedly been linked to family members and associates of the accountant-general, investigators said.
Our sources further said after progress was made in the investigation, Mr Idris was summoned repeatedly for interrogation but he failed to honour the invitations.
“We kept inviting him but he kept dodging us,” one of our sources said. “We were left with no choice than to keep him under watch and arrest him.”
The spokesperson for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached to comment for this story. One of his subordinates said he is travelling in the United Kingdom at this time.
However, a top EFCC official confirmed the development but asked not to be named because he had no permission to discuss the matter with the media.
Mr Uwujaren later issued a statement saying, “Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, May 16, 2022 arrested serving Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris in connection with diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80billion( Eighty Billion Naira only).
“The Commission’s verified intelligence showed that the AGF raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates.
“The funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and Abuja.
“Mr Idris was arrested after failing to honour invitations by the EFCC to respond to issues connected to the fraudulent acts.”
President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr Idris accountant-general on June 25, 2015.
The position became vacant at the time after the former Accountant General, Jonah Otunla, left office on June 12, 2015.
President Buhari reappointed Mr Idris for a second four-year term in June 2019, amid criticisms from labour groups who said the accountant-general should retire after turning 60.
Mr Idris, a native of Kano State, North-west Nigeria, was born on November 25, 1960, and was until his appointment in 2015 the Director of Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.