On 16/10/2015 we published an article written by Sanusi Bature Dawakintofa, titled “Senator Adamu Aleiro and the Politics of Rice”. The article sought to address the conspiracy surrounding the Senate motion raised by Senator Adamu on Tuesday 13/10/2015. The motion was designed to block the new Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (Rtd), from lifting the ban on importation of rice through Nigeria’s land boarders. It can be recalled that rice is currently being imported through Sea and Air Fright, but not through our land boarders. The lifting of the ban is a temporary measure, designed to alleviated suffering of the masses.
While the Dawakintofa’s article went viral, there were a few individuals who can at best be described as educated fools, who went into great pains to write balderdash in support of Senator Adamu Aleiro’s supposed innocence. Anyone who thinks that Senator Adamu Aleiro’s motion in the Senate is intended to help Nigerian farmers, should think twice. Once a thief, always a thief. The leopard never changes its spots.
Senator Adamu Aleiro is a grandeur thief, who carted billions of Naira of his people’s wealth through deceitful schemes. It is our hope and prayers that the EFCC will reopen his file, in light of the information available in the attached document from Financial Intelligence.
May God save Nigeria and Nigerians. Amen.
Dr. Idris Ahmed.
Muhammad Adamu Aliero
(Governor of Kebbi State 1999 – 2007)
The thing with Aliero’s tenure as Governor of Kebbi State is that the tenure is splattered with so many financial improprieties but for lack of patience to undertake a meticulous examination of the documents and money trail that will provide a trend to form an understanding of how he deployed skilful artefacts to perpetrate and perpetuate his scams (as to almost enable him get away scot-free with his perfidy) is what has bedevilled a forensic examination of his alleged misfeasance as Governor of Kebbi State from 1999 to 2007.
1. The audit reports of the Auditor General of Kebbi State for the period 1999 – 2007 are a clear starting point of formulating an understanding of Aliero’s style of scams. The audit reports are full of audit queries addressed to top public officers whether civil servants or political appointees. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Kebbi State House of Assembly or the parliament itself for want of capacity did not use parliamentary powers to pass resolutions on the trend that the auditor general’s reports highlighted.
2. The other facet of the audit reports is actually what was not audited as to be reported on. One would need to get a copy of the monthly fund statements/financial reports of the accountant general of Kebbi State, for example, for the 2006 financial year of the government of Kebbi State and from January to December of the financial year see the areas that have not been audited by the auditor general – and yet these are material public financial transactions that require such audit. There was no tracing of application of revenue that was sourced through loans and other instruments utilised to generate or raise additional revenue by the government of Kebbi State.
3. The fund statements of the accountant general will highlight that government of Kebbi State repaid loans to Standard Trust Bank, Access Bank, Zenith Bank etc including Zamfara State Government, Sokoto State Government, even contractors engaged to supply, for instance, water treatment chemicals (it is puzzling that a contractor/supplier of goods to the government was also a creditor of the government). But there was no indication anywhere of what were the nature of these loans, the total sums, and what were the loans used for. There was also a clear case of “double invoicing” when a contractor/supplier is also a creditor of the government.
4. The government of Kebbi State purportedly took a loan of N3.5 billion domiciled through UBA (as lead loan syndication bank?) – a commercial bank, but was made to look like it was funds raised from the capital market for which penalties and other fees in millions of Naira were paid to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Stock Brokers. No indication has been recorded as to how this N3.5 billion was utilised by the administration of Aliero.
5. Moneys, in millions of Naira, were channelled through Intercontinental Bank (now moribund) account at its Birnin Kebbi branch of a purported “education placement consultant” based in the UK for obtaining admission and payment of tuition fees to one Lincoln University in the UK. No students from Kebbi State attended any such University as the University does not exist. Officials in the State Ministry of Education were involved in the cover up as to how this matter could not be looked into by the auditor general of Kebbi State.
6. Subsequently, the matter of the admission of those students that were shortlisted to go to the UK was shifted to Greenwich University in the UK but that University refused to allow graduate some of the Masters students for non-payment of the tuition fees because Aliero has moved the funds out of the treasury of Kebbi State and failed to remit the funds to Greenwich University. Aliero waited until the administration of Nasamu Dakingari came into place and Nasiru Ibrahim Junju as Attorney General under Dakingari made it look like it was a new arrangement with Greenwich University and Dakingari was required and made to sign a new memorandum of understanding with Greenwich University as well as approve release of the funds to make it look like it was Dakingari that actually moved and diverted the funds. Dakingari caused the Commissioner of Police of Kebbi State to investigate the matter – this required the repatriation /extradition of the “education placement consultant” from the UK – at one point the British High Commissioner to Nigeria indicated that the “education placement consultant” is unknown to the UK authorities when it was discovered that it was a Nigerian that has acquired UK citizenship that provided the engine with which the fraud could be perpetrated. However, no efforts were made to extradite or repatriate the Nigerian from UK back to Nigeria. No steps were taken to have the funds refunded to the government of Kebbi State because the moneys earlier released by Aliero through the Intercontinental Bank were purportedly used to rent lecture rooms, auditoriums and hostel accommodation for the students that never went to the UK or admitted by the non-existent Lincoln University.
7. Under the Aliero administration, Samaila Salihu Bui, as his Commissioner of Finance, issued direct instructions, in the form of standing orders, to the then Director of Federation Accounts Unit at the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF) to transfer funds allocated to Kebbi State from the Federation Account, direct from source, to accounts of commercial banks standing to the credit or in the name of the government of Kebbi State for the importation of fertiliser and tractors. No such fertiliser or tractors have been imported or delivered or where the fertiliser or tractors have been purchased, Abba Aliero was engaged as the transporter of the fertiliser and tractors (or Marmaro Company Limited a shell company that is purportedly owned by Aliero and his younger brother Abba Aliero) from Lagos port to Kebbi State and paid in millions of Naira. When the fertiliser or tractors arrived Kebbi, Abba Aliero distributed the fertiliser and tractors and made it look like he was personally funding patronage of the people through the distribution of the fertiliser and tractors that otherwise belonged to the people.
8. One such account for importation of fertiliser was established to the benefit of one Pengolomerape Company Limited and the company was asked to refund the moneys on account of non-delivery of fertiliser. If the sum involved in the transaction is, for instance, N300.0 million, the company returned the sum of N180.0 million to the government of Kebbi State and retained the sum of N120.0 million – according to Aliero the company is entitled to retain the sum of N120.0 million as reimbursement for bank charges and other expenses it incurred for the undelivered fertiliser.
9. Farmers’ loan under agricultural credit was directedly negotiated by Aliero with Union Bank but there was no clear indication of how the loan moneys were disbursed to farmers. Records highlighted that “political jobbers” were used as a front for the presumable distribution of the moneys – when in fact the moneys were diverted for Aliero’s use. That was why there was a tussle between Union Bank, Central Bank (Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme) and the “farmers” who were reluctant to repay the loan. When Union Bank took legal action against some of the “farmers” this became a catalyst for pressure on Government House, Birnin Kebbi; to repay the loan on behalf of the “farmers” (on the ground that they are “ardent die – hard” supporters of the government). There were also insinuations that Samaila Salihu Bui and some of the Union Bank top managers negotiated an upfront payment or commitment fee that was shared amongst some key individuals and that was why Union Bank could not enforce the loan repayment through legal action before the courts.
10. In an effort to “buy off” some of the private sector merchantmen that criticised Aliero for this sleight of hand, Aliero arranged for one Abubakar Sauki to become the President of Kebbi State Chamber of Commerce & Industries and then released N250.0 million to the Chamber for distribution to its “members”. Aliero, to stall any audit examination of this N250.0 million disbursed to the Chamber of Commerce, made sure that Abubakar Sauki is the President of the Chamber of Commerce for more than 10 years (he is still the President of the Chamber) while the constituting rules of the Chamber of Commerce stipulated that its President shall serve for a tenure of 2 years only.
11. It is worth observing that the N250.0 million was sourced from line item budgetary allocation under the State Ministry of Commerce & Industries. Yet there was no payment voucher or financial instrument from the Ministry of Commerce on the basis of which the State Ministry of Finance disbursed the N250.0 million to the Kebbi State Chamber of Commerce & Industries. Kebbi State Chamber of Commerce & Industry is not a public sector entity, agency or organisation and as such should not be a recipient or day to day manager or administrator of public funds.
12. The Federal Government and Kebbi State Government signed a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the Zauro Polder Project under the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBDA). This was, purportedly, according to then President Obasanjo, because Federal Government has no money to implement the Zauro Polder Project. But around the same time that Mukhtari Shagari was Minister of Water Resources the Federal Government conceived and implemented the Shagari dam at Shagari (perhaps to obtain the support of former President Shehu Shagari for Obasanjo’s political agendas). It should be noted the Zauro Polder Project has been on the planning books of SRRBDA for more than 30 years (in fact the Zauro Rice Research Station was established by the defunct government of Northern Nigeria – which included the expansion of irrigation facilities to the rice research pilot farms around Gulma etc that informed formulation of the Zauro Polder Project). The Federal Government engaged the services of a Chinese civil engineering firm, CGC Nigeria Limited, to execute the Zauro Polder Project. Aliero released the sum of N1.0 billion from the treasury of Kebbi State directly to CGC Nigeria Limited as advance payment for commencement of works on the Zauro Polder Project – at a time when the consultants engaged by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to finalise the environmental impact assessment and other physical plan revision have not completed their review and submitted a report to the Minister of Water Resources. The government of Kebbi State signed an MOU with the Federal Government on Zauro Polder Project. The civil engineering contract agreement on the project was between the Federal Government and CGC Nigeria Limited, as such Aliero’s administration had no contractual obligation whatsoever to pay N1.0 billion advance payment to CGC Nigeria Limited.
13. On the refund of funds as a result of exit from the Paris Club of Creditors, Aliero engaged the services of consultants to assist the government of Kebbi State to recover the sums due and payable by the Federal Government. One Suleman Ibrahim was one of the consultants introduced by Samaila Salihu Bui to the Federal Ministry of Finance to be assisted by one Sauwa a Deputy Accountant General in the State Ministry of Finance to provide consultancy services for obtaining the refund. The entire processes for obtaining the refund was an exercise between officials of the State Ministry of Finance (SMOF), Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF) and the Debt Management Office (DMO). However, Aliero purported to make it look like the services are provided by private sector entities in the form of consultants and thereby paid the consultants in millions of Naira for services that could not have been so provided. One of such consultants sued the government of Kebbi State before the State High Court claiming an unpaid fee of N500.0 million. The Kebbi State High Court threw out the suit. Aminu Musa Habib Jega, former Speaker, purportedly while he was acting Governor in 2012 paid one of these “consultants” the sum of N250.0 million for services that have not been rendered and will never be rendered.
14. Aliero on receiving some of the refunds from the Federal Government created a special purpose dedicated account with one of the commercial banks in Birnin Kebbi. Kallamu Salisu Aliero then Permanent Secretary for Finance issued an irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO) drawn on this special purpose dedicated account in favour of the company of Suleman Ibrahim for construction of houses at Birnin Kebbi. Payments were made to Suleman Ibrahim on a regular periodic basis irrespective of whether houses have been constructed or not. The arrangement was that there was public private partnership (PPP) arrangement between Suleman Ibrahim’s company and the government of Kebbi State for the construction of houses for which purposes Suleman Ibrahim is to raise the funds from the financial market or mortgage market to construct the houses and Kebbi State government was guarantor of sales of the houses to civil servants and other interested persons. When Suleman Ibrahim or his company indicated inability to raise the funds from the financial market or mortgage market the ISPO was raised against the special purpose dedicated account in favour of Suleman Ibrahim’s company. Under the ISPO arrangement Suleman Ibrahim was receiving millions of Naira from the same special purpose dedicated account from 2006 until 2012 or 2013 irrespective of the number of houses constructed by Suleman Ibrahim’s company.
15. Aliero sent a team led by Attahiru Aliero a Commissioner under his administration to Italy to negotiate a commercial loan agreement with an Italian company known as STR s.a. According to the transaction STR s.a. is the recipient of a credit facility from an unnamed Merchant Bank in London, UK and STR s.a. was willing to loan U.S. $97.0 million to the government of Kebbi State and government of Kebbi State is to purchase a decommissioned cement manufacturing plant in Europe in the same amount of U.S. $ 97.0 million to bring it to Kebbi State to establish a cement manufacturing outfit at Katanga in Maiyama Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
16. Kebbi State government was to treat the U.S. $ 97.0 million in addition to being a loan to the government, as also investment of STR s.a. in the cement manufacturing outfit. This placed an obligation on the government of Kebbi State to (i) repay the loan, (ii) give preferential debenture status to the equity participation of STR s.a. in the payment of dividends, and also (iii) allow STR s.a. to participate in the remainder of dividend (if any) with other ordinary shareholders.
17. STR s.a. of Italy, incorporated a Nigerian subsidiary named STR Nigeria Limited and one Abubakar Udu Idris Permanent Secretary of Protocol under Aliero’s administration purchased vehicles with funds of Kebbi State government that were handed over to the Nigerian management of STR Nigeria Limited as part of the equipment and materials it required to set up its Nigerian office and operations. The vehicles were purchased in Abuja, handed – over to STR Nigeria Limited at the Governor’s Lodge Abuja.
18. Aliero at about the same time incorporated another company that applied for and was issued an exclusive mining lease for gypsum – raw material for cement manufacturing – located at Katanga, in Maiyama Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
19. Aliero had working capital and funds disbursed to STR Nigeria Limited as performance of the obligations of the government of Kebbi State (in addition to the vehicles released by Abubakar Udu Idris) under the loan agreement with STR s.a. The decommissioned cement manufacturing equipment was never delivered to Kebbi State. No explanation has been made anywhere of the utilisation of the U.S. $97.0 million or to render account. STR Nigeria Limited went comatose purportedly on the death of its Nigerian Managing Director. The State Ministry of Commerce & Industries have made futile attempts to recover the vehicles or properties belonging to government of Kebbi State from the surviving family of the managing director of, or from, STR Nigeria Limited without success.
20. There is the decommissioned transformer assembling plant Aliero imported from Turkey – no explanation has been presented of the cost of the importation of the decommissioned plant or satisfactory documentation of the partnership financial arrangement for the importation of the decommissioned transformer assembling plant between the government of Kebbi State and one Biray Group of Companies of Turkey.
21. Similarly, collaboration with an Iranian investment outfit has led to establishment of a plastic manufacturing outfit on the premise of importation of decommissioned manufacturing equipment from Iran. A multi – million Naira contract for the construction of factory buildings at Bulasa, Birnin Kebbi was awarded to Sani Hukuma Zauro – a political jobber who at best could construct houses – but does not have the wherewithal or skills to construct a complex enterprise as factory building for the manufacture of plastic plates and such similar eating utensils.
22. Under the Presidential Initiative for Cassava (NEPAD) cassava processing equipment was imported from China and set up at Kalgo purportedly as donation to government of Kebbi State by Abba Aliero.
23. Under the Presidential Initiative for Neem Processing the Federal Government paid for importation of equipment from India to establish neem processing manufacturing in Katsina and Birnin Kebbi. Immediately, Aliero awarded contract for the supply of neem seeds in millions of Naira as raw material for production by a processing plant that has not yet been installed or commissioned to start production. The plant in Katsina has long been completed. The plant in Kebbi State has become a home for termites and lizards.
24. Kallamu Salisu Aliero as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance undertook an appraisal of the investments of Kebbi State under the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) and singlehandedly authorised divestment of Kebbi State holdings in blue chip equity. Some of the divested stocks were resold at under par value to Aliero and his cronies and it has been alleged some of the proceeds were used to enable Aliero personally acquire substantial holding of the equity of Access Bank.
25. There were also allegations that Aliero and his younger brother Abba Aliero were involved in foreign exchange currency movement that enabled them to acquire properties in London, UK.
26. Aliero purportedly imported a bullet proof vehicle from the USA at the cost of N100.0 million. The vehicle, presumably, was to be included in the official fleet of vehicles of the Governor. Officials of the government of Kebbi State at the Cabinet Office reportedly have not seen the vehicle. But Aliero indicated that it was one of the vehicles that was monetised and allocated to him as part of his “retirement benefits”. Aliero persuaded or blackmailed Nasamu Dakingari into releasing the sum of N100.0 million to one Almu Yari as payment for the bullet proof vehicle that nobody has seen.
27. Of course the extent of the direct or indirect participation of the Aliero administration or his cronies in what has come to be described as “toxic personnel loans/credit” has not been audited or examined using forensic financial tools. These “toxic personnel loans/credit” are personnel loans/credit in hundreds of millions of Naira made by almost all the commercial banks operating in Kebbi State to employees of the Government and Local Government Councils. Some of the loans were presumably “guaranteed” by the State Government and some of the loans made to employees of Local Government Councils were secured against the salary accounts, held in these banks, of the respective Local Government Councils. In some organisations “ghost workers” were created and placed on payroll and the moneys generated from the salaries of these “ghost workers” were utilised to service the loans in the repayment of principal and interest.
28. Some banks such as First Bank engaged loan collectors to handle the negotiations and other legal actions of recovering the loans from the Local Government Councils/Ministry of Local Government/Kebbi State Government. Some of the banks such as GTB, Intercontinental Bank (defunct), and Unity Bank had the toxic loan portfolio taken over by AMCON (consequently repayment of the loans was passed on to the State Government or Federal Government treasury through AMCON).
29. So also the leasing of Warra Irrigation Scheme by Aliero’s administration to a Chinese company has been surrounded by controversy as no known fund/cost at which the Warra Irrigation Scheme was leased has been established. The local farmers that were divested of their farmlands and some forcefully relocated were never compensated for the loss of livelihood that the leasing of Warra Irrigation Scheme entailed.
30. The formulation and implementation of “monetisation policy” by the Federal Government also provided Aliero’s administration to implement “reverse engineering” processes in Kebbi State that enabled him and his cronies to divest real estate and prime properties belonging to the government to his benefit and benefit of his cronies. The sell – off of houses and prime properties belonging to the government in GRA Birnin Kebbi and the surrounding controversy is one such instance. Some of his cronies on the trump up scenario of being ejected in property they were renting in Kano or Kaduna were “loaned” properties or houses belonging to the government located in Kaduna and through this subterfuge have ended up becoming the “buyers” of such property but there is no record establishing the consummation of such a transaction between these individuals and the government. Aliero so much believed in taking these properties out of the public domain and going behind to reacquire the property in one way or the other. The transaction of selling property at Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos to Diamond Bank in the sum of N250.0 million is another instance of such stratagems. The tussle of who is to effectively take – over the property at Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos is still raging on. No proper accounts or explanation has been rendered of the property, inherited by Kebbi State from Sokoto State, that are situate on Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos as well as houses on such locations as Bishop Oluwole Street etcetera.
The EFCC under Nuhu Ribadu undertook investigation of the Aliero misfeasance. However, Abba Aliero provided incentive for some EFCC operatives to compromise the investigation as to destroy some of the documents. Nuhu Ribadu had the matter investigated which led to the dismissal of the operatives. It has been alleged that Aliero while he was Minister of the FCT engaged the services of these same dismissed operatives under the office of the Minister of FCT to effect collaboration with Farida Waziri as chairperson of the EFCC to ensure that the investigation was not re-opened or if it was re-opened – it was scuttled.
Source: Financial Intelligence.