Detained former Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema’s three mansions have been seized over his alleged involvement in a N74.6billion fraud. The houses remain seized until the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) concludes its probe of the allegation.
Shema was subjected to another round of grilling yesterday by the commission.
Operatives of the anti-graft agency stormed Katsina on Monday following preliminary interaction with the ex-governor.
The detectives sealed off the ex-governor’s houses at 1 GRA Modoji Road, Barhim Estate, Madachi Road and Makera Estate, Kirni Road.
A source in the EFCC, who pleaded not to be named because he is not authorised to talk to the media, said: “Our investigative team on Monday grilled the ex-governor for some hours on more contracts executed during his tenure.
“Also, in line with the ongoing probe, we have placed three houses of the ex-governor in Katsina under Interim Assets Forfeiture – in line with Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.”
Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’
Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.
“Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”
Responding to a question, the EFCC source added: “We have restricted the movement of the ex-governor to the country until the conclusion of the investigation.
“Shema is still in our custody. We have a warrant to detain him for a while.”
Following a petition by the government of Katsina State, the EFCC quizzed Shema on alleged diversion of N18.6billion by himself, his sons and cronies.
It also asked the ex-governor to account for alleged mismanagement of over N56billion in seven years and N30billion security votes by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Shema’s Media Team head, Oluwabusola Olawale, in a statement in Abuja, said: “We have reiterated it on different occasions that former Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema has nothing to fear and he is ever ready to defend himself, but he should not be subjected to political and media trial.
“All he wants is fairness, justice and equity in accordance with the rule of law. Former Governor Shema left Katsina State as a debt-free state despite the massive infrastructural development during his eight year tenure.”