The passports of at least 34 top officials who served under the administration of former Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed have been seized.
The former governor and most of his aides are loyalists of the immediate past President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki. Ahmed was the Commissioner for Finance when Bukola was the governor of the state before his political sojourn to the National Assembly in Abuja.
According to reports from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Nation reported that the officials were under investigation for their alleged involvement in the mismanagement of over N22 billion London-Paris Club refund.
It was gathered that 10 of the officials have been watch-listed to prevent them from fleeing the country. The N22billion covers the N21billion drawn from the refund and the N1billion allegedly intercepted by the EFCC during the February/March 2019 elections.
It was also gathered that there are four cases on alleged mismanagement of billions of naira by some ex-office holders in the state.
“There are monumental cases of fraud already uncovered in Kwara State during the tenure of the ex-governor. We may need to call for reinforcement to be able to conduct the different dimensions of the ongoing probe.
“So far, we have seized the international passports of 34 former commissioners and top government functionaries during the administration of ex-Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed,” The Nation quoted an official of EFCC as saying.
The reports say about 10 former officers have been watch-listed out of the 34 in order to prevent them from escaping abroad. “And if they travel out, we can effect their arrest in any jurisdiction.”
On how to prevent them from acquiring new passports, it was revealed that the names of the affected ex-officials of the Kwara government had been forwarded to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
In a related development, Head of Media & Publicity of the anti-graft agency, Tony Orilade, has confirmed in a statement that Ilorin Zonal Office of EFCC has submitted the particulars of individuals on its watch-list and under investigations in the state to the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, Kwara State Command.
It was revealed that the affected officials are being closely monitored.
Recalled that the former Senate President decamped to his former party (PDP) in 2018 as preparations for the 2019 general elections were in top gear, most of his loyalists in his home state of Kwara joined him. The former governor who is an ally in the state joined him while most of his aides did the same.
Ahmed was appointed Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development at the start of Saraki’s Kwara State Administration between 2003–2009.
And was reappointed as the Commissioner of the newly created Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. He succeeded Saraki in 2011.
Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was yet to react at the time of filing this report.