Ibrahim Shema, the immediate past governor of Katsina State, who was declared wanted on Wednesday for alleged fraud, has turned himself him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, his spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES Friday. Oluwabusola Olawale said Mr. Shema arrived at the EFCC headquarters around 9:30 a.m. Friday, two days after he was declared wanted by the anti-graft agency.
Mr. Shema “went to submit himself to the EFCC even though the agency has not been fair to him in handling his case,” Mr. Olawale said.
The ex-governor was declared wanted on Thursday night amid allegations that he committed offenses such as “criminal conspiracy, inflation of contract, abuse of office, diversion of funds and embezzlement running into billions of naira”.
The EFCC said the former governor, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, was declared wanted after efforts to get him to respond to the allegations through invitations by the EFCC failed.
An EFCC source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Shema allegedly diverted about N18 billion from government coffers into his private accounts for undisclosed reasons.
The officials said Mr. Shema further raided local governments monthly allocation accounts which were being jointly run with the state government, leaving little for developmental projects and clearance of local government employees’ wages and salaries. A sum of N50 billion is believed to have been mismanaged this way.
But Mr. Olawale denied the graft charges and said his principal had on June 28 visited the EFCC office and “he was told to come back later because the officials in charge were on other assignment.”
“After that, he also wrote them through his lawyers for a new date but they didn’t respond,” Mr. Olawale said. “We also took letters to their office which they declined to collect.”
“All these are politically-motivated attacks aimed at rubbishing a man who served the people of Katsina well throughout his tenure,” Mr. Olawale said. “He didn’t only clear all the state’s debts, he also left a robust treasury for the incoming government.”
The EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiries about the latest development.