Bashir Ahmad, a new media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, committed Federal payroll fraud, according to preliminary findings by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
The anti-graft agency revealed on Monday afternoon that HEDA Resource Centre, a public-interest think tank founded by anti-corruption activist Lanre Suraju, had alerted the commission to Mr. Ahmad’s action.
“We received a complaint and we have commenced an investigation,” ICPC spokeswoman Azuka Ogugua told The Gazette by telephone. “Our investigation is preliminary at this stage in order to establish accuracy of the information we received and then we take it from there.”
Ms Ogugua did not immediately give a timeline of her agency’s investigation, but an anti-graft official familiar with the matter said Mr Ahmad would soon be invited for questioning about the fraud.
The HEDA’s petition was triggered by The Gazette’s report of August 15, 2022, which detailed how Mr Ahmad defrauded Nigerian taxpayers to the tune of millions after leaving office as a presidential media aide . Mr Ahmad had said he had resigned from office in May in order to seek the ruling party’s House of Reps ticket in his home Kano State.
Despite confirming his resignation by deemphasising his employment at the Nigerian presidency, Mr Ahmad continued receiving salaries through May, June and July, until he was exposed by The Gazette’s report. He received at least N3,129,530.64 in fraudulent basic earnings, with his allowances and estacodes within the same period likely many times the salaries.
Mr Ahmad, who was earlier this month reappointed by Mr Buhari after failing to qualify to stand in the upcoming parliamentary elections, told The Gazette he refunded the illicit payments in full to the federal coffers for the months he was not an official. But he failed to supply evidence of the reimbursement or clarify what actions he took after receiving the first, second and third salaries, as well as federal allowances and estacodes, despite being a private citizen.
Mr Buhari has not disclosed what he knew about Mr Ahmad’s theft, which appeared in line with his action of keeping silent whenever his aides are caught in corruption.
The ICPC said it was aware of Nigerians’ relentless demand for Mr Ahmad’s investigation and prosecution for stealing from the federal purse at a time of rising poverty and strikes by several public sector unions as a result of the government’s inability to meet its financial obligations.
Squid Game Actor O Yeong-su Charged With Sexual Misconduct
Squid Game actor O Yeong-su has been charged with sexual misconduct, South Korean judicial officials say.
Fidel Info reports that The 78-year-old is accused of touching a woman inappropriately in 2017, officials said.
Mr O has denied the allegation according to local media.
He became the first South Korean actor to win a Golden Globe award for best supporting actor in a series after his performance in the chart-topping Netflix thriller earlier this year.
The alleged victim first filed a complaint with the police against Mr O in December last year, according to Yonhap news agency. But the case was closed in April without a charge being brought against Mr O.
The prosecution has now reopened the investigation “at the request of the victim.”
Mr O has now been charged without detention, it adds.
Following the charge, Seoul’s culture ministry decided to stop broadcasting a government commercial featuring Mr O, according to local reports cited by AFP news agency.
Squid Game – Netflix’s most popular series of all time – is a thriller series which tells the story of debt-ridden people competing for a huge cash prize in a deadly series of children’s games.
Mr O plays the oldest participant in the survival competition.
Insecurity: Bandits Impose Levies On Communities In Zamfara
A ‘compensation levy’ of varying amounts has reportedly been imposed on some communities in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State.
Fidel Info reports that a resident of Moriki, in one of the communities in the local council, Aliyu Buhari, said the bandits had, through released captives, demanded that they be paid the levy before residents will be allowed access to their farmlands.
Buhari said some communities have paid and agreed on a reconciliation deal with the bandits, adding that residents of Moriki are currently working on raising the levy.
“People living in Moriki ward were asked to pay the sum of N20 million to be able to enjoy some level of peace,” he said.
Recently, two people were kidnapped from Dauran community in the council and a ransom was paid for their release, while in Kanwa, over 40 people, who are mostly women, were abducted during a house-to-house search by the terrorists.
The bandits are yet to demand any ransom for the release of the abducted persons.
The bandits had earlier imposed a compensation levy of N20 million on Kanwa community. The levy is to serve as a peace deal between the terrorists and the community.
Despite paying the levy, the residents are currently living in tension, as they believe that the recent mass abduction may lead to another levy.
“Currently, people of Moriki community are processing how to contribute the compensation fee. The fee is to enable them to access their farmlands and live peacefully without any fear of attack,” Buhari continued.
Many communities have already paid the compensation fee. Most of them yielded during the rainy season when farmers needed to work on their farmlands.
“In Moriki, during the rainy season, people were allowed to farm, but they started to threaten our peace when it was time to harvest our farm produce.
“Each household in Moriki has been asked to contribute N6,500 to make up the N20 million levy.”
“I understand that the deadline for the payment was last week Saturday, but the community is still working towards sourcing the money.”
“Some communities that have been asked to pay compensation levy include Gidan Shaho, Kadamutsa, and Dada.”
Terrorists Abduct Zamfara District Head
Terrorists have abducted the district head of Kwangami village, Muhammad Galadima, and six others in the Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Fidel Info reports that an indigene, Dahiru Amadu, said that the victims were abducted by heavily armed terrorists on Monday.
Amadu said there was pandemonium in the village as residents tried to escape the attack, adding that several people were injured.
He stated that the district head and the six other persons were picked up in their houses and taken to the bandits’ camp.
“We are currently living in fear because the bandits are always around us abducting our people and asking for ransom.
“Just recently, they abducted 10 of our people on their farmlands who are still in captivity because we cannot pay the ransom,” he added.
The six residents of Kazauda village, Gusau LGA who were abducted a few days ago, have been released by the bandits following the payment of N4m ransom.
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