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COVID fund: Constituents petition EFCC, accuse Benue lawmaker of receiving kickbacks

COVID fund: Constituents petition EFCC, accuse Benue lawmaker of receiving kickbacks
May 17
23:42 2022

Residents of the Apa/Agatu federal constituency in Benue state have petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the alleged misconduct of Godday Odagboyi, lawmaker representing the area.

The lawmaker and some of his aides are alleged to have collected kickbacks from their constituents who applied to be beneficiaries of the COVID intervention fund.

The federal government had, in 2020, approved the disbursement of a credit facility for households and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through the COVID intervention fund.

According to the petition written by Sunday Philip and Ehoche J. Ehoche, through their counsel, James Hope of Choicevine Legal & Consulting, the residents asked the agencies to investigate the accused persons over the allegation that they requested beneficiaries to pay before receiving the funds.

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“It is common knowledge that the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans were principally disbursed by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s funded NIRSAL Microfinance Bank,” the petition reads.

“Our clients had received numerous complaints from some constituent members of Apa/Agatu Federal constituency regarding the disbursement of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans.

“It was alleged that the office of a certain Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi connived with some staff of the NIRSAL Microfinance bank to receive kickbacks out of the amount of monies of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans released to the constituents.

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“The alleged criminal scheme involved the suspects mentioned hereto in this petition and some other aides of the Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi wherein it was that they collected various sums of monies out of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans via their bank account numbers on the false pretence that the kickbacks were needed by the CBN personnel in order to facilitate future fund release.

“It was also alleged that in some instances, the COVID-19 intervention funds/loan were paid by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank directly into a bank account belonging to one Mr Benard Ekah Musa, who is a senior legislative aide to the Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi, which funds were then dispersed indiscriminately to some selected constituents using a partial consideration.”

Among several reliefs sought, the petitioners are asking the anti-graft agencies to “conduct a thorough investigation into the above-mentioned suspects with a view to determining their involvements in the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans alleged fraud”.

The petitioners are also seeking an investigation into staff members of NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, as well as an analysis of the financial records of Odagboyi, Benard Musa, Ogweje Ngbede, “and any other aides, cronies, staff, friends, political/business associates and family members with a view to determining whether Hon. Godday Samuel Odagboyi unlawfully derived any direct or indirect pecuniary benefit from the proceeds of the kickbacks of the COVID-19 intervention funds/loans meant for the constituents of Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency”.

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The petitioners also urged the agencies to prosecute any person found to be liable on the matter.



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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