Crisis rocks Niger APC over alleged N300m fraud

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Pic.8. Supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) celebrate re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 Presidential Election, at Gwagwalada in Abuja on Wednesday (27/2/19) 01763/27/2/2019/Henry Chukwuedo/BJO/NAN

The Niger state Financial Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Mohammed Gbagbam, has accused the state Chairman of the party, Alhaji Mohammed Jibrin of embezzling over N300 million.

Sequel to the allegation, Governor Abubakar Sani -Bello has reportedly, ordered the arrest of the embattled Jibrin.

The financial secretary had in the petition to the police, claimed that the party chhairman had engaged in large scale fraud which warranted the police to invite him and members of his executive for questioning.

The party chairman was reportedly, detained on Tuesday night, at the state police headquarters, Minna, after honouring the police invitation.

It was further learnt that the APC state Secretary, Mohammed Liman and the Treasurer, Dr. Mohammed Shashi, who were also arrested along with the chairman were released after two hours of grilling by police investigators and directed to report back today on June 3.

Imam was reportedly whisked away by the police few hours after presiding over an enlarged meeting of state party executive and addressing a press conference.

A source close the chairman confirmed in Minna that “the party chairman was been detained by the police over the petition on the directives of the governor for thorough investigations into the alleged fraud in the party.”

Addressing the press before his detention, the chairman dismissed the allegations of fraud levelled against him, saying that “the petition is fictitious and aimed at causing me and my family lots of pains.

“I have not even seen the petition because it was not made available to me to even defend myself. However, from what I have been told, the petitioner who is the financial secretary of the party is claiming fraud of no certain amount.

“I can tell you that there is no money missing. The petitioner is a signatory to our accounts and we run the party administration based on memos and committees in accordance with party regulations.”

He said that a committee has been constituted by the enlarged executive meeting which had local government executives in attendance to look into the matter and also determine if the party’s constitution has been infringed by the petitioner without following due process.

However, in a separate press conference, the financial secretary, countered the party chairman, insisting that there has not been records of the expenditure of over N300 million that accrued to the party.

Gbagbam accused the chairman, secretary and treasurer of the party of squandering party funds without records, while sidelining him in the running of the party’s accounts.

He said that the decision to petition the police was between him and his conscience, adding that “I was not influenced by anybody as is being claimed in some quarters.

“Trouble started during the 2019 general elections, when after collecting levies from aspirants, N15m was withdrawn from Zenith Bank without record, memo or approval of the executive meeting.

“I drew the attention of the chairman to it and from then onward he kept me in the dark on the finances of the party as I no longer receive alerts from our banks.

“In fact, we realized over N100 million from party levies during that period, but that money was again squandered without any record.

“As financial secretary, I do not have records of how that money was spent. In all, the chairman, secretary and treasurer should account for over N300 million which is part of the money that accrued to the party without records of expenditure.”

However, the state Commissioner of Police, Adamu Usman, has confirmed that the police is investigating the APC chairman over allegations of fraud.

He said: “We want to find out if there is any substance in the claims of the petitioner. The police has the responsibility of investigating any criminal complaint from any citizen of the state and that is what we are doing.”

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