The Untouchable: Will ex-AGF Ahmed Idris escape justice?

On Monday May 16, 2022, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested the then serving Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris in connection with diversion of funds and money laundering activities to the tune of N80billion (Eighty Billion Naira only). It was later discovered that the funds were N109 billion. He was released on June 1st.

Following his arrest and indictment, the Nigerian Government in a statement by the Minister of Finance, budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed suspended Idris on May 18.

The letter titled ‘Letter of Suspension’ reads, “Following your recent arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of diversion of funds and money laundering, I write to convey your suspension from work without pay effective 18th May, 2022.

This is to allow for proper and unhindered investigation into the serious allegations in line with Public Service Rules 030406.” It added that during the period, Idris is not expected to “attend your place of work or contact any official in your office except for any disciplinary hearing that may be advised”.

In July, Idris was arraigned alongside Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited by the EFCC. The EFCC said Idris and his co-defendants are indicted on a 14-count charge of stealing and criminal breach of trust to the tune of N109.5 billion.

According to one of the charges, the EFCC alleged that Idris received gratification from one Olusegun Akindele, worth N15.1 billion, in exchange for “accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine oil-producing states in the federation”.

“That you, Ahmed Idris between February and December 2021 at Abuja in the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, being a public servant by virtue of your position as the Accountant General of the Federation, accepted from Olusegun Akindele, a gratification in the aggregate sum of N15,136,221,921.46 (Fifteen Billion, One Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, Two Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Twenty-One Naira and Forty-Six Kobo), which sum was converted to the United States Dollars by the said Olusegun Akindele and which sum did not form part of your lawful remuneration but as a motive for accelerating the payment of 13% derivation to the nine (9) oil producing states in the Federation, through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 155 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and punishable under the same section,” the charge sheet read.

On 13th December, the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the interim forfeiture of some assets of the embattled Idris. According to sources at the EFCC, the assets of Idris forfeited temporarily to the government include the sums of $899,900 and N304,490,160.95. They also include 15 properties in Kano and Abuja.

Also in December, the now suspended chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa disclosed that the commission has recovered N30 billion from Idris.

Meanwhile, there are growing concerns about how Idris got the money he used in acquiring the multi-billion-naira firms; Gezawa Commodity Market Limited and Gezawa Integrated Farms Limited, both in Kano through his direct family members. The shareholdings of both firms indicate a spread of Idris family members on the official board.

Documents showed that the shares for Gezawa Commodity Market Limited are distributed among the family members of the AGF as follows:
(1) Zainab Ahmed Idris: 35,000,000 shares
(2) Shamsiyya Ahmed Idris: 35,000,000 shares
(3) Nabila Mu’azu Abubakar: 35,000, 000 shares
(4) Zuhair Ahmad Idris: 22,500,000
(5) Hussain Ahmad Idris: 22,500,000 shares
(6) Abdulrraham Ahmed Idris: 22,500,000 shares
(7) Khadija Ahmed Idris: 18,500,000 shares
(8) Mua’zu Abubakar lll: 40,000,000 shares
(9) Mohammed Chiroma: 60,000,000 shares
(10) Alh Usman Kansila Yahaya: 60,000,000 shares
(11) Baloni Ibrahim Lawal (representing Silvermark Investment Limited): 60,000,000 shares
(12) Abubakar Nabila Mua’zu (representing Gezawa Integrated Farms Limited): 20,000,000 shares.

Similarly, there have also been questions about how the AGF bought “Sokoto Hotel” in Kano with N500 million cash, a move that contravenes the law.

Section 6(B) of the Code of Conduct Bureau for public servants in Nigeria strongly forbids a civil servant who is employed full time by the Nigerian government from owning or managing a private business or company, but he/she is allowed to own or operate a farming business.

In what was another shocking development, despite clocking 60 years in 2020, Idris succeeded in pulling different strings in the Presidency to secure an extension of his appointment beyond the legal limit. According to sources, Idris engaged the services of highly placed persons including governors, senators and emirs who prevailed on Buhari to give him the extension.

The civil service rules state that a career civil servant must disengage from service either after attaining 60 years of age or having worked for 35 years, whichever comes first.

Idris’ appointment was also against a circular from the office of the Head of Service to all agencies of the Nigerian Government which says, “For avoidance of doubt and in order to maintain discipline and integrity of the extant public service rule which prescribed 60 years of age or 35 years of service for mandatory retirement, should strictly be complied with. “Accordingly, the following guidelines shall apply.

(I) that career officers who take up tenured appointment should at the point of taking up the appointment retire from service to ensure they run their term uninterrupted.

“(II) that career officers who have not retired from service before the commencement of their tenured appointment must leave office on attainment of mandatory age/years of service for retirement and
(iii) that career officers who are currently holding tenured appointment are required to retire from service with immediate effect and continue to run their term.

Failure to do so would mean that they would vacate office on attaining the mandatory age or at the expiration of their term whichever comes first.” There are growing concerns in the public as to why Idris is still a free man. Some stakeholders believe that it is because he was appointed by the ruling All Progressives Congress’ government. Recall that in January 2019, the then APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole said “once you join the APC, your sins are forgiven.” Share

Ahmed has connections among the high and mighty in the ruling class. In a classic wedding in 2021, hegave his doughter, Maimuna Idriss Ahmed out in marriage to Muhammed Umar Faruk, a son of the emir of Daura, then President Buhari’s hometown.

The couple were joined in holy matrimony at a ceremony held at the emir of Kano’s palace.

In a message delivered on his behalf by the Minister of Defence, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, Buhari said his sincere blessings and good wishes will remain with the newly-weds.

According to Buhari’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, the president prayed for peace, harmony and prosperity in the home of the couple.

Two other ministers, Sulaiman Adamu of Water Resources, Hadi Sirika of Aviation delivered Buhari’s message to the couple, along with Magashi.

Also in the delegation was Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.

Maimuna, the bride, was given out in marriage by Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State while the groom, Muhammed Daha, who is also the Dan Buram Daura, was represented by Magajin Garin Daura, Alhaji Musa Umar.

During his trial, Idris, according to an official of the EFCC returned a mind bugling $900,000 in cash to the anti graft agency.

Related posts

Leave a Comment