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 Newsmen 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. In a telephone interview with The Gazette, ICPC spokesman Azuka Ogugua said, “We received a complaint and we have started an investigation. We are currently conducting a preliminary inquiry to determine the veracity of the information we have received.
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 article from August 15, 2022, which described 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.
Even though he deemphasized his work at the Nigerian president to confirm his resignation, Mr. Ahmad continued to receive pay throughout May, June, and July until The Gazette’s story revealed him. He received at least N3,129,530.64 in false basic wages, and it’s possible that he received several times that amount in allowances and estacodes during the same time period.
Mr. Ahmad, who was earlier this month reappointed by Mr. Buhari after failing to meet the requirements to run in the 2019 parliamentary elections, told The Gazette that for the months he was not an official, he returned all illegal payments in full to the public treasury. Despite being a private citizen, he did not, however, provide proof of the reimbursement or explain what he did after collecting the first, second, and third wages as well as federal allowances and estacodes.
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 that it was aware of Nigerians’ steadfast demands that Mr. Bashir Ahmad be looked into and prosecuted for stealing from the federal coffers at a time when poverty was on the rise and many public sector unions were on strike because the government was unable to pay its debts.