Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied declaring the immediate past governor of Zamfara state, Bello Mattawale wanted as reported by a news media (not PUNCH).
In a statement released on Sunday and signed by the commission’s Head, Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, the commission said it never asked the Department of State Service to arrest the former governor reiterating it will only follow the standard procedure in the case with the former governor.
“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a report, entitled, Alleged N70b Fraud: EFCC Declares Ex-Zamfara Gov, Matawalle Wanted, which appeared in the Sunday Tribune of June 18, 2023, and purports that the Commission had declared a former Zamafara State governor, Bello Matawalle wanted and requested the Department of State Service, DSS, to arrest him, anywhere he is seen”.
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“Without prejudice to the case involving the former governor, the report is incorrect as the Commission has yet to declare Matawalle wanted or solicit the assistance of any Agency, including the DSS, to effect his arrest.”
The Commission noted that it has a standard procedure for declaring persons wanted and communicating the same to the public, not through faceless “security sources.”
This development is a twist in the ongoing rift between the anti-graft agency and the former governor.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the EFCC said it was investigating Matawalle over allegations of corruption, award of phantom contracts, and diversion of over N70 billion.
This came after Matawalle had accused the now-suspended EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of demanding a $2m bribe from him, an allegation that the anti-graft agency denied
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Matawalle had said, “It is not just to always blame governors. It is not only governors who have treasury, the federal government also has. What does the EFCC boss do to them? As he is claiming he has evidence on governors, let him show the world evidence of those at the federal level.
“If he exits office, people will surely know he is not an honest person. I have evidence against him. Let him vacate the office, I am telling you within 10 seconds probably more than 200 people will bring evidence of bribes he collected from them. He knows what he requested from me but I declined.”