EFCC Vows to Pursue Alleged N70bn Theft Case Amid Zamfara APC Protests

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reiterated its commitment to the investigation of an alleged N70 billion theft involving Bello Matawalle, the Minister of State for Defence and former governor of Zamfara State. Amidst protests by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State, the EFCC’s Acting Director of Public Affairs, Wilson Uwujaren, assured that the commission does not close cases once they are opened.

The APC Akida Forum led the demonstration at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, demanding the reopening of the pending case against Matawalle. “I want to commend members of the APC Akida Forum for this peaceful protest. It is within your rights to protest. The constitution guarantees the right of free expression and you have done that today,” Uwujaren addressed the protesters.

The allegations against Matawalle include the award of phantom contracts and diversion of funds sourced as a loan from an old-generation bank, purportedly for the execution of projects across local government areas of the state. The EFCC’s investigations have revealed payments to over 100 companies with no evidence of service rendered to the state.

Musa Mahmud, leading the protesters, presented a petition to the EFCC, highlighting the urgency of the matter. “Recall that on May 18, 2023, the EFCC said that it is investigating Matawalle over allegations of monumental corruption… The commission’s investigations revealed that over 100 companies had received payments from the funds, with no evidence of service rendered to the state,” Mahmud stated.

The case has drawn national attention, reflecting the growing concerns about corruption in Nigeria and the bold steps taken by the APC administration in addressing embezzlement allegations against government officials. Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s Acting Director of Public Affairs states: “EFCC does not close cases. Once we open an investigation into a case, we do not close such a matter. So I assure you that this petition will be looked into.” The EFCC’s assurance to continue the probe comes as a significant move in the fight against corruption in the country.

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Musa Mahmud, the Protest Leader also stated: “The demand comes amidst growing concerns about corruption in Nigeria and the bold steps taken by the APC administration in recent decisions regarding government officials suspected of embezzlement.”

The EFCC’s ongoing investigation into the alleged N70 billion theft by Bello Matawalle remains a critical issue as the nation watches closely for developments in this high-profile case.

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