The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed how a widow allowed the agency discover the misappropriation of state funds by former Governor of Taraba, Jolly Nyame.
The commission, in its monthly publication, EFCC Alert, explained that things turned sour for Nyame, when one Hauwa Usman petitioned the EFCC over the “squandering” of company money by Suleiman, younger brother of Usman Abubakar, her late husband.
Suleiman took over the company from Usman, who was managing director of Alusab until his demise.
The EFCC said it was during the course of interrogating Suleiman, that it discovered a N100million surplus paid by the state government to Alusab for the water project.
“Nyame was in fact, never in the purview of the EFCC, and no one at any time wrote a petition against him.
“The Taraba State government had issued a cheque of N135,794,607 in favour of the company, as contract payment for rehabilitation of the Ibi Wukari Water Project. But Suleiman collected the cheque and lodged it in a different account domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc, in Jalingo.
“Hauwa sought the help of the EFCC to recover the money, accusing Suleiman who took over the company of squandering it. He was subsequently invited by the EFCC for questioning; then and there, the bubble burst.
“During interrogation, Suleiman admitted collecting the cheque, and though argued that he did not squander the money as alleged in the petition, confirmed that it was for the said project, which was ongoing before the death his brother.
“He revealed that through Abubakar Tutare, then Commissioner of Finance in the state, the company applied for additional works, which was granted by the state government. According to him, the estimation for the additional works was N35 million, but Tutare instructed him to add N100 million to the estimation. Subsequently, a cheque of N135 million was issued to Suleiman, but along with it, was a complimentary card, with an account number written at the back. Tutare instructed him to pay the N100 million into the account.
“Suleiman had asked Tutare about VAT payment, to which Tutare told him to deduct 10 per cent as tax and to credit the account at the back of the card belonging to Nyame with N80 million, and bring N10 million to him. Suleiman duly paid the cheque into Alusab’s account and acted on the N80 million as instructed, as per the complimentary card. He also gave N10 million to Tutare at his residence through his house aide, Husseini Ali.
“Tutare, himself was invited for questioning and he confirmed the testimony of Suleiman, but stressed that he acted on the instruction of Nyame, and that the N80 million was paid into the account of Salmon Global Ventures Nigeria Ltd,” the report read.
Nyame was on May 30, handed a 14-year jail sentence .
The anti-graft agency had charged Nyame to court for allegedly diverting N1.64 billion when he served as governor between 1999 and 2007.
The former Governor was charged on 41 counts of fraud but was found guilty on 27 counts.