The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has declared the immediate past Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema wanted over an alleged N76bn fraud.
The anti-graft agency declared the ex-governor wanted following the allegations levelled against him by his successor, Governor Aminu Masari.
In a gazette signed by the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, the anti-graft agency said Shema had ignored all invitations by the EFCC.
The gazette read in part, “The public is hereby notified that Ibrahim Shema, a former Governor of Kastina State, is wanted by the EFCC in connection with a case of criminal conspiracy, inflation of contracts, abuse of office, diversion of funds and embezzlement, running into billions of naira.
“The former governor ignored several invitations by the commission since December 1, 2015, when he was first summoned by the agency. All efforts to locate him at his known addresses in Katsina and Abuja were futile.
“The 59-year-old ex-governor hails from the Dutsena-ma Local Government Area of Katsina State. He is tall, light in complexion and speaks Hausa and English fluently. Anybody, having useful information as to his whereabouts, should contact the commission.”
Masari had 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 N76bn collected as excess crude oil allocation and diverted over N7.5bn into his private pocket.
He alleged that more than N1.8bn was paid by the former governor to proprietors of some newspapers.
In his response, Shema said in a letter written by his lawyers, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and Co, that there was an “unwarranted and unexpected campaign of calumny being waged against the ex-governor coupled with a deliberate attempt to blackmail, denigrate and vilify Shema and his aides”.
He described as blatant lies, nauseating and malicious the claims that the “Ibrahim Shema-led administration incurred and left the state with a debt of N42bn upon the expiration of its term; that the administration incurred a foreign debt portfolio of $78m and that a sum of N13bn got missing between January and May 2015.”