The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is on trail of the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Adebayo Thomas for allegedly diverting hundreds of millions of naira and converting assets of the organization into his private use.
Dark Clouds hang over the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) following weighty allegations against the Executive Director of the organization of gross financial mismanagement and monumental looting of the board’s assets with reckless abandon.
Concerned staff of the Censors Board had on February 24, 2018 in a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused Mr. Adebayo Thomas of fraud and the conversion of the board’s assets into his private use.
The 13 point petition stated inter alia:
That Mr. Thomas had on assumption of office as the Executive Director on March 31, 2017, sold two official vehicles belonging to the board at the headquarters in Abuja to himself and converted two buses for field operations in Lagos to his personal use.
According to the petition, Mr. Thomas described by members of staff as the Czar of censors board, illegally forged an official license number plate bearing “PRESIDENCY NFVCB 01A, when the Board is just a Parastatal under the Federal ministry of Information and Culture. As if that is not enough, the NFVCB boss uses siren and amber light pilot vehicle like a governor to crisscross and terrorizing law abiding citizens of Lagos State, a privilege which he is not entitled to;
That Mr. Thomas allegedly forcefully gained entrance into the main store of the Abuja in Lagos, ransacked and carted away television sets, refrigerators, air conditioners and other valuable items;
That he embarked on a massive transfer of Senior members of staff opposed to his impunity, made them redundant and deliberately refused to pay the transfer allowances due to them;
That he allegedly broke the fence of the Lagos office and made away with a turban generator worth millions of naira belonging to the board, a case which is still being investigated by Alagbon close Police station, Ikoyi, as a result of his usage of fake auction papers in selling the 300 KVA generator for 30 million naira to a company in Lagos and paying only N20,000 naira into the account of the board;
That all the internally generated revenue (IGR), overhead and capital funds received last year running into over 150 million naira were siphoned through cronies and fake field operations;
That when the board lost a Toyota bus in its north west zonal office in Kano and claimed the sum of 5 million naira from an insurance company, the Executive Director constituted a fake Parastatals Tenders Board meeting in September 6, 2017, (while he was still abroad) wrote fake minutes where names of directors were captured as present were absent to divert the 5 million released by the Insurance Company without replacing the bus in the Kano Zonal office;
That Mr. Thomas lacks managerial skills, which is why since he assumed office as executive director, he has held only one management meeting and has refused to pay impress to all the departments, thereby crippling the operations and the smooth running of the board; meanwhile, he collects overhead from the government and pockets it, boasting that he handpicked all the new members of the board and submitted same to the minister of Information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, whom he claims is in his payroll and does his bidding;
That one serious setback is his inability to read official files and act according as all recommendations documented and forwarded to him by staff and consultants have not been attended to for months;
That Mr. Thomas gives the impression that the directors are not cooperating with him, the reason being that he asked the directors to surrender their legitimate estacode allowance they were entitled to after an official trip to Canada sometime in September 2017 and they refused;
That there is an urgent need to do a psychiatric test on Mr. Thomas to ascertain his medical fitness for the job because once he reaches the office, from the gate he starts yelling at staff at the top of his voice;
That he embarks on official trips alone, hold meetings with stakeholders alone and goes on operations alone as if the board is his private company; and
That his looting habits reached its peak when he converted the sum of 13 million naira approved for a consumer forum in Bauchi from January 29-31, 2018 to his private use releasing only a paltry sum of 4 million naira for the event and pocketing 9 million naira.
Just one year in office, Mr. Thomas has travelled over ten times abroad without carrying any of the supportive staff and Heads of Department along
As at the time of filing this report, Mr. Thomas was abroad and couldn’t be reached.
The concerned staff of the board who were forced to write the petition to the EFCC, appealed to the Chairman Mr. Ibrahim Magu to step in before it is too late.
The petition which was attached with incriminating documents detailing the impunity of Mr. Thomas, according to PowerSteering investigations is not receiving the attention it deserves because it is alleged Mr. Thomas has gracefully greased the palms of the investigators and boasted publicly that nothing will come out of the investigation as he has been able to settle the EFCC investigators and the big Ogas. However, Mr. Thomas is running helter-skelter trying to cover his dirty track. He rebuilt and painted the broken fence, concealed some documents at the headquarters of NFVCB.
Our Correspondent also gathered that on assumption of office Mr. Thomas boasted to bewildered members of staff that he was Burhari’s boy having single handedly delivered Oshodi in particular and Lagos in general to the President during the 2015 presidential election. He was also quoted as saying that his appointment was the reward of the role he played in the election of President Buhari and that no staff can hinder him from doing what he wants.
The Minster of information and Culture, he remarked recently, is in his pocket and does his bidding. He has also boasted of remitting over N5m to Alh. Lai Mohammed monthly.
Whether Mr. Adebayo Thomas, the Czar of the National Film and Video Censors Board would continue to plunder the resources of this very important organ of the information ministry under the watch of Mr. Lai Mohammed remains to be seen in the Buhari-led administration which has anti-corruption as its cardinal agenda.
More details on Mr. Thomas’ fraudulent management of NFVCB in just one and half year in our next edition. Watch out!
Shocking As EFCC Arrests Ex DSS DG Ekpenyong
By Abdullahi Mohammeed
It was a shocking situation, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested a former Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Ita Ekpenyong.
Mr Ekpenyong was arrested after operatives of the anti-graft agency raided his Abuja home located at Asokoro in the federal capital territory.
Details of his arrest are still sketchy as at press time.
The former DG of the DSS was the head of the security agency during the reign of former president Goodluck Jonathan as the Nigerian leader at the time.
An attempt previously made to search the raided property in November 2017 met brick wall as the recently oust DG of the DSS, Lawal Daura, had prevented the anti-graft agency from carrying out their duty which sparked a stand-off that nearly turned fatal between DSS and EFCC operatives.
The spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, has been unreachable for comments on this story as calls placed to his telephone numbers indicated it was switched off.
Despite Allegatios of Corruption EFCC Could Not Prosecute Me- Akpabio
By Abdullahi Mohammed
In a reaction to an alleged mismanagement of public funds, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has stated why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), could not prosecute him despite allegations of corruption levelled against him.
Mr Akpabio, a serving senator, had ruled Akwa Ibom State from May 2007 to May 2015 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
The former governor was being investigated by the EFCC for alleged gift of N1.4bn to a bank for unknown reasons.
Akpabio had also being probed on allegations of embezzling N108bn during his tenure between 2007 and 2015.
But the lawmaker defecting to the All Progressive Congress (APC) on Wednesday stated that he was innocent as nothing incriminating was found on him during the investigation carried out by the anti-graft agency.
“Some people are saying I moved to APC because a gun was pointed on my head. A young man wrote a petition against me and the petition was filled with lies… I have never been charged to court… The EFCC did not find anything on me,” Akpabio said while addressing his supporters at a rally organised to receive him into the APC at the Ikot Ekpene Township stadium.
“For those who said I am a traitor, I will never be a traitor. Those who are ganging up to stop the government of the day, we won’t see election if we follow them. We won’t see February 2019,” he added.
The former governor also said his defection to the APC is for the interest of the state and the Niger Delta region.
“Our people should be part and parcel of Nigeria. We don’t believe in segregation. The region as a minority cannot stand on its own.
“The south-south having the major resources of this country should also partake in the sharing of the resources. What I have done today is to take the people of the south-south to the centre; to link Akwa Ibom to the centre,” added.
Akpabio also said he was joining the APC to sweep away poverty from the lives of the residents of the state.
“As I speak to you now, those who are from the national assembly are all here. Thousands of you all were in PDP yesterday, are you not in APC today? I accept this broom to sweep away poverty form your life.”
Breaking : EFCC Freezes Bank Accounts Of Benue, Akwa Ibom
By Abdullahi Mohammed
It was a shocking revelation as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has frozen the bank accounts of the State Governments of Benue and Akwa Ibom.
This was made known by officials of the two state governments.
Attempts to get EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, yesterday to explain why the accounts were frozen, failed.
Many reports stated that, the accounts were frozen after the EFCC made efforts to invite some officials of government to make statements on suspicious transactions on the bank accounts, but invitations were not honoured.
Governors Condemn Freezing Of Govt Accounts
Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and Zamfara State Governor Abdul’aziz Yari has described the freezing of the account of the Benue State Government by the EFCC as unlawful.
Yari spoke yesterday when he met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
“The freezing of any account of the state government, whether Benue or anywhere, is unconstitutional and is not right. That is shutting down government. Government must spend, most especially Benue that is facing insecurity challenges.
“Well, we don’t know why the EFCC took the action. But if indeed EFCC has frozen the account, from my point of view, it is wrong.
“But I believe this government will not sit down and oversee unlawful operations happening from the security agencies.
“From what happened yesterday, someone can understand that this government is following due process and laws of Nigeria.
“EFCC’s action in Benue is something that should be reversed,” he said.
PDP Calls For Immediate Unfreezing of Accounts
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday called for immediate unfreezing of the accounts belonging to the two state.
The two states are governed by the PDP.
The opposition party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja called on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to immediately order the EFCC to unfreeze the accounts.
He described the action of the anti-graft agency as a direct attack on innocent Nigerians in the two states.
Mr Ologbondiyan described the action as illegal, unconstitutional, overtly wicked and unjustifiable under any laws and practice of Nigeria.
“Nigerians are all aware that no section of our constitution or any law in Nigeria for that matter confers any agency of the federal government with powers to interfere or put any restrictions on funds belonging or accruable to states as federating units of our nation,” the party said.
“Apart from its state assembly, no other government body or institution has the powers of appropriation or restrictions on any funds belonging to the state,” PDP said.
The party also advised the presidency not to hide under the EFCC to unleash punishment and hardship on the people in states perceived to be opposed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) 2019 re-election bid.
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