FG Suspends Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, as EFCC traces more suspicious assets
The Nigerian government has suspended Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation, following his arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of money laundering and diversion of public funds.
On Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) apprehended Mr. Idris in Kano and flew him to Abuja.
In a letter sent on Wednesday, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed informed Mr. Idris of his suspension.
Mrs. Ahmed’s letter, dated May 18, 2022, stated that his suspension is without pay.
The letter stated in part, “Following your recent arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of fund diversion and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective May 18, 2022,” the letter stated in part.
Mrs. Ahmed stated that the suspension is in accordance with public service rules in order to allow for a thorough and unhindered investigation.
The letter, titled “LETTER OF SUSPENSION,” also prohibits Mr. Ahmed from visiting or contacting any official in his office during his suspension, with the exception of any disciplinary proceedings that may be initiated against him. ”
This is to allow for a thorough and unimpeded investigation into the serious allegations in accordance with Public Service Rule 030408.”
“You are not expected to come to work or contact any official in your office during this time, except for any disciplinary hearing that may be scheduled.”
“It is also expected that you will strictly adhere to any instructions that will be forwarded to you at your current location or your known recorded address as stipulated in the existing rules,” the letter stated.
Mr. Idris was still being held by the EFCC at the time of filing this report on Wednesday.
This newspaper also learned from sources with firsthand knowledge of the case that some assets thought to be the proceeds of Mr. Idris’ alleged illegal activities have been located.
The sources, who did not want to be identified because they did not have permission to speak publicly about the case, provided photographs of a sprawling edifice in Kano allegedly linked to Mr. Idris.
According to our source, the agency has obtained a court order authorising the arrest of additional suspects in connection with the alleged crime.
The photographs show that the property is nearing completion.
To avoid jeopardising investigations, agents refused to reveal the suspects’ identities.
Background According to sources, the EFCC has been investigating a case of at least N80 billion in public funds diversion that was allegedly laundered through some bogus contracts for some time.
According to investigators, the companies used to launder the funds are linked to family members and associates of the suspended accountant-general.
According to our sources, after the investigation progressed, Mr. Idris was summoned for questioning several times, but he did not respond.
One of our sources said, “We kept inviting him, but he kept avoiding us.” “We had no choice but to keep him under surveillance and arrest him.”
Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC’s spokesperson, could not be reached for comment on this story. One of his subordinates stated that he was in the United Kingdom at the time.
However, a top EFCC official confirmed the development but declined to be named because he did not have permission to speak with the media about it.
Mr. Uwujaren later issued a statement saying, “Operators of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested serving Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, on Monday, May 16, 202,2 in connection with the diversion of funds and money laundering activities totaling N80 billion” (Eighty Billion Naira only).
“According to the Commission’s verified intelligence, the AGF syphoned off funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities involving proxies, family members, and close associates.”
“The funds were laundered in Kano and Abuja through real estate investments.”
However, “Mr. Idris was arrested after failing to respond to EFCC invitations to respond to issues related to the fraudulent acts.”
On June 25, 2015, President Muhammed Buhari appointed Mr. Idris as Accountant-General.
The position became vacant when the former Accountant General, Jonah Otunla, resigned on June 12, 2015.
President Buhari reappointed Mr. Idris to a second four-year term in June 2019, despite labour groups’ criticism that the accountant-general should retire at the age of 60.
Mr. Idris, a native of Kano State in northwestern Nigeria, was born on November 25, 1960, and was the Director of Finance and Accounts at the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development until his appointment in 2015.