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Nigerian state governor siphons $146 million, anti-corruption official alleges

• Transactions were carried out within the last six years • Investigation part of measures to tackle corruption in Nigeria

NIGERIA is investigating a serving state governor who has withdrawn more than 60 billion naira ($146 million) in cash since 2015 as part of efforts to combat graft, according to the country’s top anti-corruption official.

Bloomberg reports the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, as saying  a governor from a state in Nigeria’s North Central region carried out the cash transactions ‘within the last six years.’ Bawa’s remarks about the unnamed politician appeared in the latest edition of his agency’s in-house magazine, which was published online December 13.

The North Central zone covers six of Nigeria’s 36 states: Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau. Each state’s available revenue in 2020 was between 55 billion naira and 67 billion naira, according to government data.

The agency had achieved 1,499 convictions in the year through November 4, a record number, Bawa said. ‘We are all over the place trying to see that we eradicate economic and financial crime through the court processes and other preventive measures that we have in place.’

Bawa’s comments come amid allegations that the EFCC avoids prosecuting influential political figures, especially members of the ruling party. ‘Very soon, Nigerians are going to see some of the things that we are doing,’ he said.

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