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EFCC invites Kwankwaso over alleged N2.5bn pension fraud

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission is probing a former Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, over alleged N2.5bn pension fraud, The PUNCH has learnt.

Our correspondent gathered that Kwakwanso was invited and had been grilled by EFCC interrogators over the development.

A source in the anti-graft agency familiar with the matter but had no authourisation to speak, said, “The commission invited Kwakwanso over the alleged N2.5bn Kano pension funds. We have grilled Kwakwanso over the matter, and he has provided some details to interrogators.”

Another source noted, “Former Kano governor, Kwakwanso has been invited by the commission . He has been grilled, and we’re continuing with our investigation.”

When contacted over the development, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale declined comment.

The PUNCH had reported in March 2023 that the Abuja Zonal Command of the EFCC handed over documents of properties and 324 houses recovered for  the Kano State pensioners to them.

The EFCC spokesman said the handover of the houses was occasioned by a final forfeiture order granted by Justice I.E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court sitting Abuja.

He added that the forfeiture was a result of successful investigations carried out by the EFCC over a N4.1bn Pension Trust Fund contributed by the pensioners to own houses, which was fraudulently denied them by two successive administrations in Kano State.

Oyewale said, “The commission investigated a petition by Concerned Kano State Workers and Pensioners of alleged misappropriation of pension funds in the state. Findings by the EFCC showed that the state government entered into a tripartite agreement with the Kano State Pension Trust Fund to build housing estates for an aggregate sum of N41bn, out of which the Pension Trust Fund was to contribute N4.1bn.

“However, the contribution of the pensioners was used to build the houses in three estates located in Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmud Adam Bandirawo city, Sheikh Nasiru Kabara (Amana) city and Sheikh Khalifa Ishaq Rabiu city,  all in Kano State and two former governors of the state fraudulently discounted and sold the houses to their cronies and associates,  leaving the pension trustees with low budget and uncompleted houses.

“The EFCC stepped in and upon completion of investigation,  filed for and acquired a final forfeiture order of the 324 properties to the Kano State Pension Fund Trustees.

“While handing over the documents of the 324 properties worth N4.1bn to the pensioners on Monday, March18, 2024,  the Abuja Zonal Commander of the EFCC, Assistant Commander of the EFCC, Adeniyi Adebayo, assured that the EFCC would continue to do its best to rid the nation of fraudulent practices.

“Representatives of the Kano State Pension Board, Alhaji Hassan Muhammed Aminu,  Kubra Ahmad Bichi and Salisu Yakubu Abubakar, who received the documents on behalf of the workers and pensioners,  expressed  delight  and joy with the EFCC for  assisting them in recovering their houses.”

The EFCC probe of Kwankwaso comes amid political tension between the ruling New Nigeria People’s Party he leads in Kano and the All Progressives Congress led by the immediate-past governor, Abdullahi Ganduje.

Last week, the state Assembly loyal to Kwankwanso’s political godson and incumbent governor, Abba Yusuf, reversed the splitting of the Kano emirate into five by Ganduje in 2020.

Yusuf restored a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, who Ganduje dethroned as the Emir of Kano during his administration in 2020.


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