The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized the passport of the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, as part of investigations into the alleged N76bn fraud perpetrated by Shema.
Shema was detained by the EFCC on Friday after he voluntarily walked into the head office of the EFCC.
However, a source close to the ex-governor told SUNDAY PUNCH that despite meeting the bail conditions, the anti-graft agency refused to release him.
The source said, “You will recall that the EFCC declared Shema wanted even though they knew he was not on the run. They had invited him for questioning in June but when he arrived at their office, he was informed that the detective in charge, Mr. Hyecinth A. Edozie, was out of Abuja, and that a new date, after Sallah, would be communicated.
“However, they never informed him of a new date and then went ahead to declare him wanted. On getting to the EFCC on Friday, the ex-governor presented a stamped document acknowledging that he had honoured the EFCC’s invitation in June.
“After being grilled for several hours, the EFCC gave him bail conditions, including that he tenders his passport and property documents of his sureties which he did. However, the EFCC still refused to grant him bail and said he should wait till Monday.”
The anti-graft agency started investigating Shema following allegations levelled against him by his successor, Governor Bello Masari, who is a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Masari had accused Shema of financial impropriety and diversion of billions of naira.
The governor said he had “concrete evidence” to drag his predecessor before the anti-graft agency to recover all stolen funds.
According to Masari, there are some mistakes that can be forgiven, “but N70bn is a huge amount of money that we cannot overlook.”
He alleged that the former governor misappropriated over N76.6bn collected as excess crude oil allocation and diverted over N7.5bn into his private pocket.
Masari also alleged that Shema and other top government officials of the Ministry of Local Government Affairs used fake receipts to divert over N750m earmarked to purchase drugs for local government councils.
Shema, however, accused the EFCC of being used by Masari to persecute him for political reasons.
All attempts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive as his two phones indicated that they were switched off, while text messages were not responded to as of press time.
Copyright PUNCH. by Eniola Akinkuotu