Following the arrest of former acting Governor of Adamawa State Umaru Fintiri, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized a terrace house belonging to him, located on No. 7, Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja.
Fintiri was arrested following a petition by former members of his cabinet that he embezzled N1.9bn during the three months he acted as governor. The suspect, who was the Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, became acting governor after the impeachment of the substantive governor, Murtala Nyako, and his deputy, Bala Ngilari, in 2014.
A source at the EFCC said that Fintiri allegedly diverted funds that was meant for the construction of the Faculty of Law at the Adamawa State University.
“Before his impeachment, Nyako left a balance of N1,957,045,82 in the state government’s project account with the Yola branch of Zenith Bank, with account number 1011325467. Out of the money, N497 million was meant for the construction of a law faculty at the university, which was to be sited at the former Teachers’ College, Yola.
“However, when Fintiri took over as acting governor, he transferred the proposed faculty from Yola to the Mubi campus of the ADSU and later laid the foundation; but after that, the project never took off.
“Investigations revealed that on Fintiri’s orders, part of the N1.9bn was released to the Ministry of Works and a contract was awarded to a construction company, Mayim Construction Limited, for the construction of roads in Mararaba Garta and Kamale in the Michika Local Government Area of the state. The company, we believe, is owned by Fintiri, which is illegal. The roads in question have not been constructed.”
The source also added that Fintiri also purchased Highland Tea, a tea manufacturing company located on the Mambilla Plateau and jointly owned by Adamawa and Taraba states. The tea company owed N600m to the Bank of Agriculture, which Fintiri paid promptly and became its sole owner.
The source alleged that Umaru Fintiri, through his company, bought the assets of a firm, S. M. Nguroje Nigeria Limited, through the Bank of Agriculture for N650 million. The property is a tea plantation and processing plant located in Taraba State.
“We believe that part of the N1.9bn was used in buying the tea plantation.”
The EFCC is also investigating a loan of N5bn taken by Fintiri as acting governor. It was alleged that the suspect took the loan without following due process.
Fintiri, the source said, would soon be charged to court. However, a spokesman for Umaru Fintiri, who did not want his name in print, said the allegations were baseless, adding that all the contracts were awarded in accordance with the laws of the state.