11 Nigerian Incoming Senators Facing Corruption/Fraud Probe

On February 23, Nigerians in various part of the country went out in their numbers to different polling units to elect a president and lawmakers that will represent them in the 9th National Assembly.

The lawmakers elected include 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.

Those elected will replace members of the outgoing 8th Senate and House of Representatives.

The 8th National Assembly, particularly the Senate will be remembered for many things including its various controversies. These include the controversy that trailed the election of its principal officers, invasion of the Senate chamber by thugs who stole its mace, and mass defection of members including the president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki.

The 8th Senate also had several members, including Mr Saraki, who faced corruption charges. They were frequently in courtrooms, and the custody of anti-corruption agencies, answering questions for their alleged corrupt practices. Some of the cases are still ongoing.

Like the outgoing Senate, the 9th Senate will also have members who are facing major corruption probes with some already being prosecuted. About 10 per cent of the newly elected Nigerian senators are facing corruption probes. Some are already being prosecuted. They include former governors who allegedly stole state funds while in office and other public officials. All of them have, however, denied any wrongdoing.

PREMIUM TIMES reviews some of the incoming senators facing corruption charges.

Orji Uzor Kalu
The former governor of Abia State won the Abia North senatorial election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Kalu won with 30,580 votes while the closest opposition candidate from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mao Ohuabunwa, recorded 21,940 votes

The EFCC is prosecuting Mr Kalu for allegedly stealing Abia funds while in office. He is being prosecuted alongside his former commissioner for finance, Ude Udeogo, and a company, Slok Nigeria Ltd, said to be owned by him.

Mr Kalu’s original trial started just after he left office in 2007. In October 2016, EFCC renewed its prosecution and preferred 34 count charges against Mr Kalu. But he and Mr Udeogo pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail.

The EFCC ultimately reactivated Mr Kalu’s case last year, filing amended graft charges of up to N7.7 billion against him. In November 2018, a judge frowned at Mr Kalu’s foreign travel without the permission of the court and the EFCC. That did not deter the former Abia governor from returning to Nigeria and contesting, winning a senatorial election.

The former governor of Benue State is the senator-elect for Benue North Senatorial District under the PDP.

The federal government is prosecuting Mr Suswam and two others for alleged diversion of N9.79 billion while he was in office as governor.

Those charged alongside Mr Suswam in the 32- count charge are Omadachi Oklobia, his former commissioner for finance, and Janet Aluga, a former accountant, Benue State Government House.

‎In the charge, the trio allegedly cornered the said funds between 2012 and 2015 while Mr Suswam was governor of the state.

They are also accused of conspiracy, conversion of property derived directly from corruption; collaboration to conceal property derived from corruption; obtaining by false pretence and accepting cash payments, exceeding the amount authorised by law.

Chimaroke Nnamani
Former Governor of Enugu State, Chimaroke Nnamani, won the Enugu East Senatorial Election conducted on Saturday.

Mr Nnamani of the PDP polled a total of 128,843 votes to beat his closest rival, Lawrence Eze of the APC, who got 14,225 votes

Mr Nnamani, his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six companies were first arraigned in 2007 for allegedly conspiring to divert about N5.3 billion from the coffers of Enugu State.

The case had been handled by no fewer than three judges.

In February 2018, the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court dismissed the charges against Mr Nnamani, for lack of “proper charges” before the court. The EFCC vowed to file fresh charges, saying it has strong evidence against the ex-governor.

Ifeanyi Ubah
Ifeanyi Ubah won the Anambra South Senatorial ticket on the platform of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) polling 87,081 votes.

Mr Ubah, a former governorship candidate in the state, defeated his closest rival, Chris Uba of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who got 62,462 votes.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is investigating and prosecuting Capital Oil and Gas Limited and its Managing Director, Mr Ubah, for their alleged complicity in a fraud worth N43.29 billion, perpetrated through the petroleum subsidy scheme.

The EFCC and the police accused Mr Ubah and his company of obtaining subsidy payments by false pretences, stealing, money laundering and forgery with respect to the alleged fraudulent payment of N43.29 billion in the transactions conducted in 2011.

Peter Nwaoboshi
INEC declared Delta North Senatorial candidate (PDP), Peter Nwaoboshi, the winner of the last Saturday’s National Assembly election.

Mr Nwaoboshi scored 186,423 votes to beat Doris Uboh of the APC who polled 36,360 to emerge second.

He was arraigned for an alleged fraud of N322 million by the EFCC in April 2018.

Mr Nwaoboshi was in court alongside two firms on charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.

The judge, Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court on April 25, 2018, ruled that the senator should be remanded in prison. He got bail two days after. The trial is ongoing.

Abba Moro
The former interior minister, Abba Moro, of the PDP was declared as the winner for Benue South Senatorial seat.

Mr Moro polled 85,162 votes to beat his closest rival, Stephen Lawani of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Mr Moro, who served under ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, was sued for fraud over a botched recruitment drive, which led to a stampede that left 20 people dead in 2014.

He is currently facing trial though he has pleaded not guilty to his role in an alleged $2.5 million (£1.8 million) fraud, involving missing application fees.

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