See 14 Senators Facing Corruption Trials

The 9th Senate mark its midterm session this June 11 but in the last two years, some of its members including principal officers have been facing trial in different courts on issues bordering on corruption.

Among these senators are former governors and ministers. They are 14 in number. Their accusations followed the previous public offices they occupied. The courts are yet to pronounce them innocent or guilty. Most at times, where the court acquits some of them, Elanza News gathered that the Nigerian’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have always insisted on taken the case to a higher court.

The Senators facing corruption charges are:

Orji Uzor Kalu – N7.7bn

Orji Uzor Kalu

Chief Orji Uzo Kalu is the chief whip of the Senate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He served as governor of Abia state between 29 May 1999 to 29 May, 2007 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The 60- year-old politician is standing corruption trial amounting to N7.7 billion.

Elanza News gathered that the businessman is facing the EFCC with a commissioner of finance
under his government, Ude Udeogo, as well as a company linked to him.

He has been battling his trial since 2007. In 2018, the EFCC reactivated the charges concerning N7.7 billion with issues at the
court about Kalu’s foreign travels.

On 5 December 2019, a federal high court sitting in Lagos sentenced Kalu to 12 years in jail. On 2 June 2020, the same Federal High Court in Lagos granted a motion by Kalu, seeking his release from the Kuje Prison custody. He has been attending Senate proceedings since then.

Chimaroke Nnamani – N5.3 billion

Chimaroke Nnamani

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani is a former governor of Enugu State. He is representing Enugu East in the red chamber.

The 61-year-old former governor, his aide back then, Sunday Anyaogu, and six companies were arraigned in 2007. They were accused of diverting about N5.3 billion.

Nnamani was first arraigned before Justice Tijani Abubakar in 2007. The ex-governor was docked alongside Sunday Anyaogu, his then aide and six firms linked to them: Rainbownet Nigeria Limited, Hillgate Nigeria Limited, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nigeria Limited, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

The case was re-assigned to Justice Charles Archibong following the transfer of Justice Abubakar, now of the Appeal Court, out of the Lagos division of the Federal High Court. Again, the case was
re-assigned to Justice Yinusa, after Justice Archibong (now retired) was also transferred out of the Lagos division of the court.

According to the charge, Nnamani conspired with other accused persons to launder funds from the state treasury, especially monies meant for the local government areas of Enugu state.

The case was dismissed 11 years after by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos which pinned its ruling on lack of proper charges before it. The EFCC said it would go ahead with new charges against the former governor.

Ifeanyi Ubah – N43.29bn

Ifeanyi Ubah

The 49-year-old oil magnate is representing Anambra South senatorial district in the red chamber and Deputy Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream).

He has been under EFCC’s investigation with his company over allegation of fraud to the tune of N43.29 billion. He was accused of making false claims for subsidy payment.

Gabriel Suswam – N9.79bn

Gabriel Suswam

56-year-old politician Gabriel Suswam was governor of Benue state between 29 May 2007 – 29 May 2015.

The chairman Senate Committee on Power is facing a 32-count charge
with two others, Omadachi Oklobia and Janet Aluga, for allegedly diverting N9.79 billion.

They are also accused of “conversion of property derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretense and accepting cash payments, exceeding the amount authorized by law.”

Abba Moro – $2.5

Patrick Abba Moro

Abba Moro is the chairman Senate Committee on Interior and former minister of interior. He is representing Benue South senatorial district in the National Assembly.

Moro is facing fraud charges over the way a recruitment process led to a stampede that resulted in the death of 20 people in 2014. He pleaded not guilty concerning his alleged role in a $2.5 million that had to do with missing application fees.

His group is also accused of shooting a police officer, Danjuma Saliu, while on duty.

Peter Nwaoboshi – N322m

Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi

Peter Nwaoboshi is representing Delta North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, is standing trial alongside two organisations for alleged fraud to the tune of N322 million.

In 2018, Nwaoboshi was remanded in prison before being granted bail. The 63-year-old politician will know his fate at the Federal High Court in Lagos on April 19, 2021.

Stella Oduah – N9.4bn

Stella Oduah

59-year-old Stella Oduah is representing Anambra North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.

The former aviation minister who is also the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation is still under the eyes of the EFCC.

The anti-graft agency, in 2018, drilled her and seized her passport over alleged diversion of N3.9 billion from a N9.4 billion contract for the installation of security devices at 22 airports. She has continue to deny the allegations. The matter continue on 19 April 2021 in an Abuja High Court.

Aliyu Wamakko – N15bn

Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko

68-year-old former governor of Sokoto state Aliyu Wamakko is representing Sokoto North Senatorial district in the National Assembly.

The former governor who served between 29 May 2007 – 29 May 2015 is
facing investigation over alleged theft of funds to the tune of N15 billion. He has consistently denied the allegations. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Defence had said he was ready for legitimate scrutiny and not media trial.

Ike Ekweremadu – 22 Properties

Ike Ekweremadu

The Senator representing Enugu West senatorial District in the National Assembly, Ike Ekweremadu is facing allegations of owning about 22 properties in Abuja, London, US and United Arab Emirate (UAE).

The 59-year-old longest serving deputy Senate President who is in the red chamber for the fifth time was quizzed and detained by the anti-graft agency in 2018 but he has continue to denied the allegation.

He was also taken to court by a presidential panel headed by Chief
Obono- Obla for not properly declaring his assets by the disbanded panel but the court strike out the case because the lawyer absconded with the case file. The court informed the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that when they are ready, they can still come back.

Ekweremadu who was in court and mounted the dock when the matter was called, had earlier challenged the powers of the Abuja High Court to hear the matter and to grant interim ownership of his 22 attached properties to the Federal Government.

Danjuma Goje – N25bn

Danjuma Goje

Former Gombe governor, Danjuma Goje was a top contender for the office of the Senate President prior to their inauguration in June 2019. Before then, the 69-year-old politician was battling with a fraud charge filed against him by the EFCC at the Federal High Court in Gombe in which he was accused with four others of engaging in money laundering totaling N25 billion.

Weeks after withdrawal from the Senate Presidential race, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami withdraw the N25 billion case against him on the ground that it was weak.

The Gombe Central Senator was the governor of the state between May 2003 – May 2011.

It was gathered that the AGF thoroughly reviewed the last two counts charges against Goje in 2019 and having found no prima facie case, withdrew the case in exercise of his constitutional power as enshrined in Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution.

But the AGF was silent on why the Federal Government refused to allow the court decide the merit or otherwise of the case.

Abdullahi Adamu – N15bn

Abdullahi Adamu

Abdullahi Adamu is representing Nasarawa West Senatorial District in the National Assembly. He served as governor between 29 May 1999 to 29 May, 2007.

Adamu was arraigned on a 149-count charge of fraud to the tune of N15 billion alongside his co-accused.

The 76-year-old politician who is the Senate Committee chairman on Agriculture and Rural Development was arrested in 2010 by the EFCC for allegedly misappropriating the amount alongside 18 others.

Theodore Orji – N27bn 

Theodore Orji

Theodore Orji represent Abia Central senatorial district in the National Assembly and was governor of the state between May 29, 2007–May 29, 2015.

The 71-year-old Chairman Senate Committee on Privatisation, Orji, was
governor from 2007 – 2015. He was interrogated at the EFCC headquarters in November 2018. He was invited over the allegations that he mismanaged about N27 billion. The invitation followed series of petitions written against Orji after leaving the governor’s office in 2015.

He was accused of diverting billions of Naira disbursed to Abia State by the Central Bank of Nigeria for Small and Medium Enterprise, diversion of money from the Ecological Fund account, which should have been used in tackling erosion and other disasters peculiar to the state and diversion of money from Abia State Oil Producing Development Area Commission.

Orji was accused of using the funds to acquire properties in Abia, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

The EFCC is reportedly planning to confiscate the properties.

In December 2018, EFCC arrested Orji’s son, Ogbonna Orji over allegations of money laundering.

Sam Egwu – N80bn

Sam Egwu

67-year-old former governor of Ebonyi State Sam Egwu is representing Ebonyi North senatorial district in the National Assembly.

Egwu, a former Minister of Education was alleged to have misappropriated about N80 billion while serving as governor between 1999 – 2007.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Egwu is also reported to have left a debt profile of N10 billion for his successor.

Adamu Aliero – N10.2bn

Adamu Aliero

Adamu Aliero served as governor of Kebbi state between 29 May 1999 to
29 May 2007. He was also the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the then late President Umaru Yar’Adua administration.

He is facing N10.2 billion fraud the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) are
investigating.

The EFCC and ICPC had between December 2006 and August 2008, received three petitions asking them to investigate him over the N10.2 billion alleged fraud. The petition was written by Alhaji Abubakar Kane, Alhaji Sani Dododo and Alhaji Shuaibu Y Mungabi, all from Kebbi.

The 64-year-old politician is the chairman Senate Committee on Works.

Whether the trial of these Senators have impacted negatively on their performances at the red chamber, none of their constituents have launch a formal complaint concerning dissatisfaction. But pundits argued that the recruitment process have to change as Nigerians prepares for the 2023 general election. Some of them are advocating for proper checks to be made on people seeking for public office. Others have argued that some of the charges against these public office holders are a ‘witch-hunt.’

But the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, told Elanza News that the security agencies and political parties must ensure they do corruption and criminal checks on all those contesting for political offices.

According to him, if there is no sanity in the polity, Nigeria can’t get it correctly adding that public office holders facing trials in courts can’t perform optimally because of court sittings and other distractions.

“What is happening in the polity posed a challenge for security agencies, and political parties who are recruiting these leaders into public office without due diligence.

“For the candidates, before they are selected to go into any contest,
the party should make sure they are people free of corruption cases.
This is very important because some of them don’t have the required
qualifications. Some have pending criminal cases while others have
serious criminal cases and integrity deficit, ” Rafsanjani said adding
that political parties, which is a platform people used to go into public office must ensure they did not filed candidate with credibility deficit.

“They should not allow people with issues of corruption and criminal
activities to contest. If the political parties allow that, there will be credibility problem in their party and if there are serious cases, it will hamper the effectiveness of these public office holders.

“They will not be able to concentrate and do their work because every now and then, there will be court cases that will be distracting
them,” he said.

For the security agencies, Rafsanjani said it is important they do thorough job by conducting a background check on every candidate that submit their intent to the political party or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“The security agencies should be able to carry out sensitive or rigorous check on the person to know if he or she has corruption case, criminal records or is someone who has no integrity.

“If we can’t sanitise the system, it means that we will continue to produce political leaders with criminal or corruption records. As it is now, we don’t even know the sponsors of terrorism. We don’t know the sponsors of criminality. We don’t know the sponsors of oil bunkering, we don’t know the people involved in money laundering, financial crimes and illicit drugs. It is only through a background check on each public office holder we will be able to tackle that.

“Also, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) must be up and doing in conducting quality check to verify anybody who exaggerated or underrated his or her assets. There must be a collaboration between the security agencies to ensure they clean up the system,” Rafsanjani added.

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