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Alleged N150bn Fraud Rocks NIRSAL by Masabannyc(m): 10:18am On Aug 21, 2021
Exposed!

Alleged N150bn fraud rocks NIRSAL

…as MD, son, cronies allegedly siphon intervention funds meant for farmers

. Acquire luxury cars, choice properties, hotels in Abuja, Lagos, Germany, UK, Dubai, South Africa

. AbdulHameed awards son N2bn contract for supply of laptops, iPhones, drones, ICT software

. Emefiele allegedly shields NIRSAL’s boss as Malami forbids police probe of alleged fraud

SEGUN OLATUNJI

An alleged monumental fraud involving a whopping sum of N150billion is currently rocking the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, popularly known as NIRSAL, with the Managing Director, Aliyu Abbati AbdulHameed; his son, Imran and cronies in the agency accused of looting the intervention fund meant for farmers in the past five years.

First News learnt that the NIRSAL MD and his allies allegedly fraudulently rake in about N204, 203,000million on a monthly basis and a total sum of N2,450,436,000billion annually from the payroll of the consultants engaged at the 37 Project Monitoring and Remediation Offices.

The fraud allegedly perpetrated by AbdulHameed, his son and some top officials and senior consultants to the agency, FirstNews learnt, is already causing disquiet among the staff in its head office located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

But inspite of this large scale allegations of corruption, First News learnt that the NIRSAL MD has been enjoying some protection from investigation and prosecution by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who is the chairman of the Agency’s Board.

NIRSAL was incorporated in 2013 by the Central Bank of Nigeria with a take-off grant of $500million and given the mandate to de-risk agriculture and promote credit to the sector from the commercial banking system. But going by the happenings within the agency in the past five years, NIRSAL, according to financial analysts, has allegedly become another conduit for corruption and fraud.

The NIRSAL MD, whose five-year tenure officially lapsed since December 2020, First News gathered, once awarded to his son, Imran Aliyu AbdulHameed, N2billion contract for the purchase of MacBook Air laptops, iPhones, drones, and ICT software for the staff of the agency.

AbdulHameed and his cronies at NIRSAL are alleged to have also purchased a number of choice properties for his son, Imran in Dubai and elsewhere across the world.

He is also alleged to be in the habit of grossly violating due process in the disbursement of the agency’s funds. It was learnt that there is a backlog of operating and capital expenditures already approved by him but which are above his approval limits and for which no board approval was obtained. Most of such contracts said to be worth tens of billions of Naira were never executed, it was learnt.

The NIRSAL MD, it was learnt, caused the agency to invest directly in a number of projects called Farmsmart, which gulped the sum of N402, 521,056million but were allegedly deliberately designed to fail.

These projects, which were scheduled for execution in 10 states, it was learnt, have now been reclassified by the agency as “technical assistance” (also known as proof of concept projects) to allow the funds to be written off. Two of companies involved in the failed project are: SCAGRIC Ltd and Tradeco Ltd, which got investment worth N348.2 million and N54.3 million, respectively, from NIRSAL.

The NIRSAL MD is also allegedly said to have been using the agency’s Head of Finance, Idris Issa Aweda, as a conduit for receiving alleged proceeds of fraud through three personal bank accounts: FCMB (4986133010), GTB (0245155058), and Stanbic IBTC.

Despite not being a security agency, the NIRSAL boss, First News further learnt, has in the past years allegedly been ordering the payment of hundreds of millions of Naira for such phantom items under different headings, including “Advance for security challenge in the North-East on the farms fields”, “Security challenge in the North- Central on the farms fields”, “Advance for external security issue armoured car” and “Advance for security challenge in the South-East on the farms fields”.

These illegal funds, it was learnt, are directly wired into the private bank accounts of the NIRSAL head of finance, Aweda. It was gathered that he allegedly received in his personal accounts the sum of N784,549,773.45 between August 2017 and October 11, 2019 as security imprests and other expenses.

The NIRSAL MD, it was learnt, allegedly procured illegally two armoured vehicles (Toyota Landcruiser JTMHX09J5F4083758 and Lexus LX 570 JTJHY00W2J4260990) at the cost of N180million without approval from the Office of the National Security Adviser. These are in addition to the nine official vehicles allocated to him in various locations across the country.

The proceeds from these financial crimes, First News learnt, have been used by the NIRSAL MD to acquire choice properties, including a hotel and resort in South Africa as well as exotic automobiles in different states in Nigeria and countries across the world through his Personal Assistant, Muhammed Abdulkadir, and the agency’s National Coordinating Consultant on Project Monitoring and Remediation Offices (PMRO), Dr. Olusegun Steven Ogidan, under the name of his cronies.

Some of the properties which purchase was allegedly facilitated by Abdulkadir for the NIRSAL MD include mansions in Maitama, Katampe, Eko Atlantic, Lagos, Germany (through one Baba Ali), the United Kingdom, Dubai, and South Africa as well as a massive plot of land on Airport Road, Abuja, formerly owned by Diff Hospital, and a farmland in Gembu, Taraba State.

NIRSAL’s consultant on PMRO, Ogidan, it was learnt, has been used by the agency’s MD, AbdulHameed to divert over N30billion from NIRSAL’s coffers, which he has allegedly diverted to purchasing choice properties both within and outside Nigeria.

Ogidan, First News gathered, is solely in charge of all NIRSAL’s operations across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, through his company, Successory Limited, with headquarters at 54B Abidjan Street, Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. Ogidan is also the owner and a director of Beresh Consulting, also registered in South Africa. The company also has Aluko Akinyele Oluwole, Makolo Samuel Omakoji, and Bamigboye Anthony Akinloye as directors. But while Akinyele is the coordinator of NIRSAL PMRO in the South West, Samuel also work as a PMRO consultant in the same agency.

First News findings revealed that in the past four years, the NIRSAL MD has used Ogidan to divert a total sum of N8.5billion with over N204million and N2.4billion, respectively, illegally taken from the agency’s coffers monthly and annually.

“This is done through the ghost-worker scheme and slashing of PMRO staff salaries. The total amount of money being spent by the Central Bank on PMRO monthly is about N309million. This is allocated to the 12 Zonal Coordinating Consultants (ZCCs) in charge of the 36 state offices across the country. Head PMROs receive the sum of N350,000.00 as monthly salary instead of N850,000.00 as outlined in the subsisting contract representing 41 per cent of salary sum payable. This implies that the sum of N181million, representing 59 per cent of funds due to PMRO is continually diverted on a monthly basis since inception,” a top official of the agency said.

The NIRSAL MD, it was learnt, has also allegedly used Ogidan to repatriate millions of dollars to the Middle East, South Africa, United States, and Europe, where such illegal funds had been invested in the purchase of choice properties, luxury vehicles and other items, including a five star resort in South Africa, Vivari Hotel, where substantial shares of the hotel were purchased for the sum of $5million. The NIRSAL national coordinating consultant is a shareholder and a director of the hotel located at 30 Bryanston Drive, Sandton, Johannesburg.

The NIRSAL funds are laundered and repatriated abroad by Ogidan through an Utako, Abuja based microfinance bank said to be virtually under the control of the NIRSAL MD, to escape detection.

Three other companies also owned by Ogidan, including Successory Nigeria Limited, Beresh Consulting and Global Knowledge, are also allegedly used to perpetrate fraud at NIRSAL.

Ogidan’s Beresh Consulting registered in South Africa, it was learnt, was once awarded over N2billion contract by NIRSAL to organise a training programme for 100 of its staff in Johannesburg.

It was further learnt that NIRSAL expends the sum of N40million to organise training session every quarter for key persons from every PMRO, but much of the fund is allegedly diverted by Ogidan.

For instance, the sum of N618 million was single-handedly approved by the MD as cost of design, implementation and management of a call centre and service delivery (N292,247,230.70) and design, implementation and support of enterprise network infrastructure (N326,175,894.37) without the board’s approval. The MD’s approval limit for this category of transaction (capital expenditure) is N20million. The call centre and enterprise network infrastructure do not exist anywhere in the country as at today.

Concerning AbdulHameed’s approval of contracts beyond his limits without carrying along NIRSAL’s Board, an insider told First News, “Contracts worth tens of billions have been awarded by the MD without the jobs or contracts ever done. One of such is an ERP contract of about N1.3 billion. Other expenses (since 2017) include; N122million training expenses awarded to Wildleaf Ltd., In January 2017, N263 million was awarded to Bamili for Study Tour. In December 2017, N227 Million training expenses was awarded to Bokadi, while N154 Million was awarded to EPMS for General Management. N107 milion was also awarded to Freshvine as Training expense, while Data Acquisition and Software contracts were awarded to inteliwork (N66.2m), Circus Advance (N58m) and Bokadi Links (N55 million).

“In the bid to be compliant with approval limits as from 2019 following years of breaches of approval processes, the Procurement Department guided by the MD resorted to contract splitting; most of these contracts were also never executed. Examples: AVC Capacity Development contract totaling N953m was split into 64 contracts of less than N15m each. In August 2019, AVC Gap Assessment contract which worth N119m was also split into 8 contracts of less than N15m per contract, while in September 2019, Specialized Risk Management Services had its N136 million contract split into 3 contracts.”

First News also learnt that the NIRSAL MD, in connivance with the Head of Travel, has allegedly been creating fake travel transactions for the staff of the agency to justify the illegal transfer of hundreds of millions of funds from NIRSAL to some travel agencies without the actual trips taking place.

A NIRSAL senior staff, who pleaded anonymity, said, “Such instances include the disbursement of N1,462,480 for the travels of Oluwatosin Ariyo to South Africa for risk management training and that of Abdulkadir Muhammad for another N1,462,480 made to Alfa Global. Another such fraudulent transaction is that of Imran.”

However, despite these allegations of large scale corruption and fraud against the NIRSAL MD, First News gathered that he’s being shielded by both Malami and the CBN governor.

It was gathered that none of the petitions written to the two anti-graft agencies - the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission – over the monumental fraud illegal diversion of funds allegedly perpetrated over the years by the NIRSAL MD has ever seen the light of day.

First News learnt that a Board Audit Report commissioned by the CBN governor under the chairmanship of the apex bank’s Deputy Governor, Edward Adamu, and which confirmed many of the fraud allegations against the NIRSAL MD, has been suppressed and not implemented by Emefiele inspite of his position as the chairman of the agency’s Board.

Similarly, First News gathered that AGF Malami, in his bid to continue to protect the NIRSAL MD, has forbidden the police from investigating his alleged fraudulent activities at the agency.

AbdulHameed, it was learnt, has been in the habit of engaging the office of the AGF with a view to frustrating any attempt by security agencies to conduct a probe into the alleged large scale fraud at NIRSAL.

AbdulHameed, in a letter written to Malami entitled, “Request for Intervention on Unwarranted and Multiple Investigations of NIRSAL PLC By Law Enforcement Agencies,” with reference NIR/MD/GEN/TAPD/24/20/03, and dated 29th January, 2020, requested the AGF’s intervention in the ongoing investigation of NIRSAL by security agencies.

Following the NIRSAL MD’s appeal to Malami, the Office of the Attorney General, through the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federation, wrote to the Nigeria Police in a letter with reference: DPPA/NIRSAL/110/20, and dated 4th of February, 2020 and forbade the security agency from carrying out any investigation of the alleged fraud at the agency.

Efforts by our correspondent to speak with the NIRSAL spokesperson, Hauwa Noroh-Ali, since Sunday were spurned as she continued to cut the calls put through to her phone after she had refused to reply to text messages sent to her phone on the matter.

On Monday, calls were also put through to the NIRSAL spokespersons phone at about 4:40pm, but after several attempts it was discovered that she had placed our correspondent’s calls on “permanent busy” mode.

Similarly, the NIRSAL National Coordinating Consultant, Ogidan, accused of aiding and abetting the agency’s MD in perpetrating the alleged fraud and serving as his front for the purchase of properties in Nigeria and abroad, refused to pick his calls on Sunday and Monday.

He also did not reply the text messages sent to him since Sunday as of Monday evening.[i][/i]
Re: Alleged N150bn Fraud Rocks NIRSAL by Jamesbiodun(m): 10:59am On Aug 21, 2021
Seriously I am tired , I just read how people siphon and spend lavishly and I no get 1k for pocket, ah angry Baba God free this country from corruption

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Re: Alleged N150bn Fraud Rocks NIRSAL by grandpoh(m): 12:32pm On Aug 21, 2021
This country is a joke and it’s leader are all definitions of m’fvckers
Imagine an agric intervention fund meant to support small and medium scale farmers being siphoned by a greedy man and his asshole of a son.
It’s the audacity for me sha..
Re: Alleged N150bn Fraud Rocks NIRSAL by shariff84: 1:37pm On Aug 21, 2021
Trufully,we the masses have problem also in this country.See how one single individual will diverted funds meant for thousand farmers and nothing will be done.

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