ECONOMIC and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives have raided the country home of former Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari over the ongoing probe of his tenure, The Nation learnt on Monday.
About 21 exotic vehicles were found in the compound of Yari, former chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) until he left office on May 29.
The EFCC team also searched the houses of Yari’s brother Jafaru and his intimate friend, Sha’aya Mafara.
Yari’s interrogation will determine how the vehicles were acquired, sources told The Nation.
Yari, who was out of the country at the time of the raid on Sunday, has been invited by the commission.
The former governor is being investigated for alleged questionable payment of N19 billion from the London-Paris Club refund; N35 billion spent on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); Ecological and Stabilisation Fund and how he incurred N151, 190,477,572.02 liabilities on ongoing projects.
The EFCC has been on the trail of the governor since 2017 but he enjoyed immunity while in office.
A source, who pleaded not to be named, said: “The raid of Yari’s home was in connection with the ongoing investigation of the former governor. He has some issues to clarify on his tenure, THE NATION reports.
“Most of the issues have been in public domain for a while, especially the alleged questionable payment of N19 billion from the London-Paris Club refund to some consultants by the NGF and mismanagement of Zamfara State’s resources.
“We are not pronouncing him guilty but we want him to appear for interrogation on some of the issues we have highlighted for investigation.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “Such a raid is allowed when we have superior intelligence on a Politically Exposed Person (PEP).
“For instance, our operatives uncovered 21 exotic vehicles in his compound. Yet, we have an allegation that a part of the N35 billion budgeted for IDPs in Zamfara was used to buy choice cars.
“The intelligence at our disposal made our operatives to search the houses of Jafaru Yari, the ex-governor’s brother and his intimate friend, Sha’aya Mafara. In fact, Yari’s brother was at his residence when our team got there.
“The onus is on Yari to explain how he came about the exotic vehicles; whether or not he declared them in his Asset Declaration Form; and if these vehicles were in his exit Asset Form as a former governor in May.
“Once he is able to justify the acquisition of the vehicles, the EFCC has no problem with Yari. Otherwise, he has a question to answer.”
The source said some suspects were facing trial over the London-Paris Club refunds.
The source said: “We need Yari to come to our office to explain his roles. He was central to the negotiation and disbursement of the funds.
“Some suspects are already on trial. A few others escaped abroad. But since Yari has no immunity again, let him just clarify a few things.
“We are hopeful he will honour our invitation.”
EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity Mr. Tony Orilade, said: “It is true we went to the house of the former governor of Zamfara State, Yari, in respect of the ongoing investigation.
“Like we have always said, we won’t discuss our investigation with the media.
“At the appropriate time, when the investigation is ripe, we shall proceed to prosecution and we shall carry the media along.”
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