http://www.saharareporters.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=382:how-farida-waziri-and-top-nigerian-editors-got-abuja-land-allocations&catid=76:hot-topic&Itemid=205 When James Ibori, Bukola Saraki and a coalition of other incumbent and former governors facing graft charges recruited Mrs. Farida Waziri to head the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), SaharaReporters did a detailed expose on her recruitment and eventual "clearance" by the Nigerian senate, despite loud protestations from conscientious Nigerian citizens and civic groups Mrs. Waziri was forced on Nigerians as EFCC chairperson. SaharaReporters has also documented Waziri’s incompetence and many corrupt deals since assuming leadership of the anti-graft agency. Our detailed reports on her stint at the special-fraud unit of the Nigeria Police Force showed that she was in cahoots with major perpetrators of advance fee fraud ("419"). Under her watch, 419 crimes skyrocketed. A source recently disclosed to us that, in her days on the special-fraud unit, she remained a regular face at the Federal Palace Ikoyi hotel suite maintained by Fred Ajudua, a notorious 419 kingpin. Our more recent investigation into her tenure at the EFCC has revealed a lot more troubling facts of her involvement in direct stealing of EFCC funds. Specifically, she has used her "special assistant" to make cash withdrawals from the agency. These withdrawals have been made under the bogus heading of "information funds". SaharaReporters investigations showed that between June 23 2008 and October 22nd 2008, Mrs. Waziri – with the aid of her blood brother, Yisa Terfa Moses, whom she hired as a special assistant – withdrew the sum of N75 million as “information fund” from the accounts of the EFCC. In preparation for what started as a petty pilfering of EFCC funds, Mrs. Farida had earlier recruited a police officer of her ethnic stock, a Tiv policeman named James Vandefan Tersudh, to take charge of the accounts department at the EFCC. A breakdown of Mrs. Waziri's "information fund" withdrawals shows that on Monday June 23 2008 she took out N5 million. Three days later, on June 26 2008, she made cash withdrawals of N15 million. She followed up with withdrawals of N15 million on July 22nd 2008 and another N15 million on July 28 2008. Waziri’s looting of EFCC funds resumed on August 2nd 2008 with a cash withdrawal of N2 million, followed by another withdrawal of N3 million on August 14th 2008. On September 20th and October 14th 2008 respectively, Mrs. Waziri also took out N20 million in two N10 million installments. Saharareporters investigators could not determine any specific “information” projects that the withdrawn monies were used for. At any rate, there are no accounts of their usage provided in the account books of the EFCC. However, two sources within the agency told us that Mrs. Waziri used the funds to fete and 'take care' of journalists in an attempt to shore up her badly battered image. However, the cash withdrawals have coincided with our discovery of Mrs. Waziri's curious purchase of federal government owned properties in the Wuse II area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. As a retired former Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mrs. Waziri owned only one plot of land in Maitama area of Abuja. According to our investigations, on May 26 1999, she was allocated Plot 601 at 23 Aso Garden Estate, Maitama Abuja. One Barrister Mike Idoko Ejeh submitted her application. However since her assumption of office in 2008, Mrs. Waziri has acquired several properties in Abuja. SaharaReporters investigators found out that she purchased from the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) a federal government house valued at N50.04 million at number 10 Port Novo Street, Wuse II, Abuja. The house was described in FCDA records seen by SaharaReporters as a five-bedroom detached house with boys’ quarters. Mrs. Waziri paid N5 million for the property through a bank draft issued by Access Bank of Nigeria. The property is currently being renovated. A source told our correspondent that the Access Bank link was suspicious. On assuming office as EFCC chair she had moved almost all EFCC accounts to the bank where her daughter was employed. Shortly after her relocation of the agency's accounts, we confronted EFCC spokesperson Femi Babafemi who admitted that Access Bank had EFCC account, but he said only the salary accounts were moved there. It was not clear how Mrs. Waziri paid the balance of N45 million on the property, but a source at FCT told SaharaReporters that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Aliyu Umar Modibbo, grossly undervalued the property. “The minister was in trouble because of serious cases of corruption, and he offered the house to Mrs. Waziri at a give-away price in order to secure her support otherwise a property of that type in Wuse II cost at least N150 million,” said the source. Mrs. Waziri's dealings with Moddibo started when “President” Umaru Yar'adua instructed Mrs. Waziri to investigate how another former minister of the FCT, Nasir El Rufai, managed proceeds of sales of Federal properties in Abuja under Obasanjo's tenure. El-Rufai was being sought for punishment as Yar'adua began clamping down on the vocal members of the former regime especially the so-called reformers. Yar'adua was responding to allegations contained in petitions that accused El-Rufai of embezzling N32 billion. The Nigerian Senate was also simultaneously probing the alleged embezzlement. The funds at the center of the investigations were monies that El Rufai placed with an FCT-owned loans and savings bank, Aso Savings, from which federal civil servants were supposed to draw housing loans. Unknown to Yar'adua, Modibbo had withdrawn the funds from Aso Savings and distributed it amongst various commercial banks leaving behind a meager N7 billion. In “gratitude,” the banks paid Modibbo the interests generated from the deposits. Even a Presidency circular asking him to return the funds to the Central Bank of Nigeria was ignored. EFCC agents found out about the extensive fraud as they interrogated Modibbo and took his statements – which were forwarded to the Presidency before Mrs. Waziri could see them. Unaware of her agents’ damning report, she commissioned another report on Modibbo, highly favorable, which was again dispatched to the Presidency. Briefed on Modibbo's extensive corruption dossier with the Presidency, SaharaReporters reported in September 2008 that he was penciled in for removal from office. While awaiting his removal from office, Modibbo hurriedly allocated lands to 24 individuals on September 24 2008. The list of beneficiaries included EFCC chair, Farida Mzamber Waziri, who was allocated the second largest piece of land-about 1 acress- on the list. Coincidentally, the list contained names of top journalists and editors such as Reuben Adeleye Abati (editorial page editor of the Guardian), Adebayo Onanuga of TheNEWS, Comfort Chinezerem Obi of the SOURCE magazine, Mr. Director Uhunmwernkpenma Osa of Insider Weekly and Bala Dan Abu of Newswatch. An FCT official told Saharareporters that all ministerial approvals derive from land applications. Two of the editors we contacted stressed the same point. Still, an official at the EFCC familiar with details of Modibbo’s corrupt deals told Saharareporters that the former minister's decision to allocate lands to Mrs. Waziri alongside top newspaper editors was done to ensure that the transaction was not reported – and that Modibbo’s extensive scams at the FCT were covered up. On receiving the list, we contacted Comfort Obi, publisher of the SOURCE and a member of the Police Service Commission (PSC), a body that recently dismissed former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu from the police. Ms. Obi told our reporter that she got land alongside other editors by applying for it, noting that there was nothing unusual about it. She also said some editors got land allocations in Abuja two years before her crew got theirs. Also, Mr. Bayo Onanuga of TheNEWS told Saharareporters that he purchased the land in Abuja legitimately like every other Nigerian, and that he paid for it. He further told our reporter that the former minister did not give land to any editor for free, underlining that some of the editors had a difficult time putting the money together for their allocations. Mrs. Waziri's Certificate of Occupancy was offered to her the next day. The C of O read that she was allocated Plot 1460 of 25 Trent River Street, Maitama, Abuja with file number 60219 in Cadastral zone B06 of MABUSHI. The land area size is 2336.26 square metres. However, her plot soon became the subject of a hide-and-seek game. According to a source within the FCT who knew about the transactions, Mrs. Waziri and the former minister suspected that SaharaReporters was aware of the land allocation to her. Waziri arranged with the FCT to change the ownership of her land. On October 13 2008, the Federal Capital Territory Administration Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) wrote her a "withdrawal letter" titled "Notice of Withdrawal of right of Occupancy." The short letter, addressed to Mrs. Farida Mzamber Waziri, stated that her Right of Occupancy to Plot 1460 within B06 MABUSHI was revoked by "DISCRETION BY AUTHORITY". The letter listed the director of development control, director legal, and director “URP” as the source of the letter. Two days after the revocation, the same plot was allocated to Mrs. Waziri's daughter, Zainab Naomi Salawu. The same plot was now assigned a new file number GO 60167. In an attempt to hide the exact identity of the re-allocated land, FCT officials gave the address as 2 River Trent Crescent, Maitama Abuja. In a move that betrayed her stake in the land, Mrs. Waziri sent Mohammed A. Bako, the EFCC protocol officer, to sign a letter accepting the land. Bako, who signed on behalf of Zainab Naomi Salawu, gave his EFCC office phone number 09-64441118, his e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as his home address in Karu area of Abuja. Zainab Salawu is believed to own a hair saloon in London known as "Naomi Davids". The land grab by Mrs. Waziri is coming on the heels of our recent revelation of her receipt of a Mercedes Benz GL 450 gift from Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom. Our efforts to reach Aliyu Moddibo – whose removal led him to weep openly at his handing over ceremony – did not yield any results. Two of his former aides claimed he was out of Nigeria but sources knowledgeable about his whereabouts said he is currently in Kano where he maintains a sprawling mansion he “commissioned” a few weeks ago.