EFCC quizzes Special Adviser to Enugu governor over N200m fraud

By The Rainbow

A Senior Special Adviser to Enugu State Government on Special Duties, Pastor Sam Ifeanyi Iyiogwe, has fallen into the investigative net of the Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  is investigating allegations in a petition against Iyiogwe  for alleged embezzlement of over N200 million.

According to the petition, Iyiogwe allegedly laundered when was the chairman of the Nkanu East Local Government Area, Enugu State.

He was said to have built estate, personal mansion,  and started transport company from the proceeds of the alleged misappropriation.

The special adviser  was the alleged to have paid N1.5 million monthly to his wife without legislative approval, while the  cashier of the council, Mrs. Felicia Okeke, withdrew N80 million from the council account with UBA and deposited same into the UBA bank account of the suspect while in office.

The petition further alleges the following against the former chairman: diversion of funds meant for the development of the local government into a  personal account, spending funds without approval from the Nkanu East Local Government Area Legislative Council, non-execution of up to 30% capital project captured under 2012 – 2015 for which billions of naira were appropriated, withholding of workers' salaries for several months, including leave allowances which were never paid for four years, refurbishment of the LGA bus with N5, 000,000(five million naira) and lavishing N5, 000,000 (Five Million Naira) of bribe to some council members to cover up some of his corrupt practices, operation of a domiciliary account with $30,000.

According to a report in The Nation, a source in the EFCC disclosed that:  “Iyiogwe, who is said to be a pastor, was alleged to have been paying his wife N1.5m monthly without legislative approval. He allegedly diverted public funds for the construction of a shopping plaza at the Ogui Road Junction; an estate near Mbaukwu Street, Enugu; a multi-million naira mansion in his village at Ubaha; a filling station at Agbani; fleet of cars for transport services being managed by his wife in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“He was said to have used some of his special advisers to divert N20million for road repairs that was never carried out, while awarding another road contract for N100million that was never constructed, among other alleged infractions.

“Investigations into the allegations contained in the petition confirmed that the cashier of the council, Mrs. Felicia Okeke, withdrew N80million from the council account with UBA and deposited same into the UBA bank account of the suspect while in office.”

The source added that the Head of Works of the local government, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, admitted during interrogation that he was used by the suspect to “steal and launder various sums of money.”

“Okonkwo admitted that the suspect, Pastor Sam Iyiogwe Ifeanyi, actually asked him to forge the various receipts used for the retirement of the looted funds, while a certain Evangelist Felix Okoye forged the receipts of Enugu State Broadcasting Service, ESBS, Radio Nigeria and Nigerian Television Authority NTA, used in carrying out some fund retirement for purported Public Relations.”

The EFCC said investigation was still ongoing as at press time.

More arrests might be made with all the suspects likely to be arraigned for trial.