The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied a report claiming that it declared Bello Matawalle, the immediate past governor of Zamfara State, wanted for alleged fraud.
In a statement released on Sunday, the EFCC’s Head of Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, refuted the allegation as reported in some media stations. He said that the EFCC has yet to declare Matawalle wanted or solicit the help of any agency in his arrest. The statement reads: “Without prejudice to the case involving the former governor, the report is incorrect as the Commission has yet to declare Matawalle wanted or solicit the assistance of any Agency, including the DSS, to effect his arrest.”
The EFCC stated that it has standard procedures for declaring individuals wanted and communicating this to the public, not through unidentified “security sources.”
Earlier reports had said that the EFCC is investigating Matawalle over allegations of corruption, awarding phantom contracts, and diverting over N70 billion. This followed Matawalle’s accusation that the now-suspended EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, demanded a $2m bribe from him. Bawa’s suspension was announced by the presidency earlier this month without giving any reasons for it.
Matawalle had said, “It is not just to always blame governors. It is not only governors who have the treasury, the federal government also has. What does the EFCC boss do to them? As he is claiming he has evidence on governors, let him show the world evidence of those at the federal level. If he exits office, people will surely know he is not an honest person. I have evidence against him. Let him vacate the office, I am telling you within 10 seconds probably more than 200 people will bring evidence of bribes he collected from them. He knows what he requested from me but I declined.”
The former governor also said that he had evidence showing Bawa’s demands for bribes from him. However, the EFCC denied the allegations and described them as an attempt to smear the agency’s image. The agency reiterated that it carries out its operations independently and without political influence.