Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Inspector-General of Police to investigate a former Imo State Accountant General, Mr. Igbo Ndubuisi Donald, for fraud and money laundering, and also probe Assistant Inspector General Garba Baba Umar, for assisting him to cover his crimes.
The Executive Director of RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma in a petition directed to the IGP, Alkali Baba, said that information at his organisation’s disposal showed that the accountant general committed a series of fraud when he was working for the Imo State government and was also involved in money laundering.
Donald, who was the Accountant General during the tenure of Imo State Governor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, has, however, denied the allegations, stressing that he was ready and available to be investigated by relevant authorities.
Nwangunma explained that the activities of the accountant were given a second look following the latter dragging Mrs Chidinma Ugochukwu, a banker with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Owerri branch, to court over allegations that she withdrew money from an account he (Donald) opened in the name of Ugochukwu’s father.
He said: “We received credible information concerning alleged persecution of Mrs Chidinma Ugochukwu, a banker with the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Owerri branch by the Head, National Control of Bureau of Interpol, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Nigeria Police Force, Force Headquarters headed by Assistant Inspector General Garba Baba Umar at the instigation of one Mr Igbo Ndubuisi Donald. On the 1st of September, 2022, Mrs. Chidinma Ugochukwu, received an invitation from the Police Force Headquarters, Abuja, routed through the office of the Managing Director of her bank. The invitation claimed that they needed to interview her in connection with an investigation the police were carrying out bordering on criminal breach of trust, fraud, forgery and theft.”
The human activist said that Ugochukwu without worry or anxiety, went to Abuja on 8th September 2022 to honour the invitation. When she got there, she was presented with a bank account opened in the name of her own father, an Account Number and her father’s Bank Verification Number (BVN). The petition presented to her was written by one Mr. Igbo Ndubuisi Donald. In the petition, the complainant told the police that when he was Accountant General during the tenure of Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha, he opened the account in question using the name of Ugochukwu’s father who happened to be one of his friends but without the knowledge of the man whose name appears as the account holder.
Nwanguma said: “The complainant claimed that he is the signatory to the account held in the name of Chidinma’s father and that some funds have been transferred without his mandate. He could not explain to the police why it became necessary for him to open an account in the name of another person without the knowledge of that other person when they were not in any joint venture or business or partnership. Donald is believed to be among government officials who looted the treasury of Imo State dry during the era of Rochas Okorocha and even spanning to the period of Emeka Ihedioha. It was only when the current Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma came to power that he discovered the fraud of Donald as Accountant General of Imo State and removed him from office.”
The activist further alleged that the former AG owned choice property in many streets of Owerri, the least of such property is eight flats of three bedrooms and wherever he built, he built not less than two at once.
“Donald owns properties in Europe, Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt apart from those he owns in Owerri. Other third parties or friends of his whose names he used in opening these fictitious accounts include one Chinedu Longs, a young Assistant Pastor in one of the churches in Owerri, whose name he used to launder huge sums of money. There is no doubt that this is a clear case of somebody trying to conceal proceeds of crime which under our law constitutes money laundering. These facts are well known to the Police officers working for Mr. Igbo Ndubuisi Donald. Still, they rather chose to show a determination to look away from the substantive money laundering offence as they voiced out that they yet have no mandate to investigate that and have no complaint on that,” alleged Nwanguma.
Nwanguma, who felt the police invitation of Ugochukwu was a mockery of criminal justice added: “Mrs. Ugochukwu was shown an alleged detention order already obtained before her arrival by the police empowering them to detain her for two weeks. The police, therefore, intimidated her that unless she cooperated with them, by incriminating herself, contrary to the constitution, they were going to detain her for two weeks period. Her statement was also obtained in the absence of her lawyer, contrary to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. This shows the police are not doing a fair investigation but have been compromised by the complainant to hunt the woman down and make her lose her job with the bank. Although following the intervention of a senior lawyer, the Investigating Police Officers (IPO), Abdullahi, team leader and assistant team, one Abdul released Mrs. Ugochukwu on administrative bail after she made her statement, she is required to be reporting frequently and this will likely threaten her job.”
Speaking directly to the IGP in a petition, Nwanguma stated that the travesty of the investigation was worrisome and as such requested that the IGP should, “order a proper investigation into why an adult who is employed in the civil service should open a bank account in the name of another person without the latter’s consent. We believe that the justice of the matter requires that Donald should be made to give an account of why he opened the account in the name of third parties even when he is a signatory to those accounts. We call for a thorough investigation of the alleged money laundering by Donald who confessed in his petition to the police, why the police refused to investigate the sources of the funding and the reason for warehousing the funds in the accounts of third parties. This manifest act of corruption accounts for why civil servants in Imo State cannot be paid and the poor state of infrastructure as those in charge massively looted the State. This also accounts for the state of poverty and huge debt while they and their generations unborn will continue to live in opulence.”
Speaking with our reporter, Donald said: “This is to categorically inform you without any ambiguity that I was not involved in any fraud and money laundering while in office as Accountant General. I left the office for nearly three years now and have since retired meritoriously as Retired Permanent secretary. However, any person or persons who think I have committed anything of the sort may wish to petition competent relevant authorities for investigation.”
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