Bashir Ahmad, a new media adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, committed government payroll fraud, according to preliminary findings by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
The anti-graft agency informed Peoples Gazette on Monday afternoon that HEDA Resource Centre, a public-interest think tank founded by anti-corruption activist Lanre Suraju, had alerted the commission to Mr. Ahmad’s action.
“We received a complaint, and we have commenced an investigation,” ICPC spokeswoman Azuka Ogugua told The Gazette by telephone. “Our investigation is preliminary at this stage in order to establish the accuracy of the information we received and then we take it from there.”
An anti-graft officer who is acquainted with the case said Mr. Ahmad would shortly be invited for questioning regarding the fraud. Ms. Ogugua did not immediately provide a timeframe of her agency’s investigation.
The Gazette revealed on August 15, 2022, how Mr. Ahmad robbed Nigerian taxpayers of millions of dollars after leaving government as a presidential communications advisor, served as the impetus for the HEDA appeal. Mr. Ahmad claimed he left his position in May to run for the ruling party’s House of Representatives nomination in his native Kano State.
Mr. Ahmad would soon be invited for interrogation regarding the fraud, according to an anti-graft officer familiar with the matter. Ms. Ogugua omitted to immediately state when her agency’s probe would be completed.
The HEDA request was inspired by a Gazette piece from August 15, 2022 that detailed how Mr. Ahmad defrauded Nigerian taxpayers of millions of dollars after leaving the government to work as a presidential communications advisor. Mr. Ahmad asserted that he quit his post in May to seek the nomination of the ruling party for the House of Representatives in his home state of Kano.
It was in line with Mr. Buhari’s practice of remaining mute whenever one of his aides gets implicated in corruption that he has not revealed what he knew about Mr. Ahmad’s theft.
The ICPC claimed to be aware of Nigerians’ steadfast demands for Mr. Ahmad to be investigated and prosecuted for theft from the federal coffers during a period of rising poverty and strikes by various public sector unions as a result of the government’s inability to pay its debts.