Palpable unease is gyrating the camp of Sen Emmanuel Bwacha (Taraba South), after a source who refused to be named said that a leaked document indicates that his finances are under scrutiny by both anti-graft and financial regulations agencies, after query-run investigation on his finances by a special squad raised between these agencies to put a searchlight on Politically Exposed Persons (PEP). This special monitoring squad has come to understand that there are transactions of Sen Bwacha, his companies, and his cronies which have crossed the redlines of financial regulations, into hundreds of billions of naira.
The source who is in the known said that this financial investigation bombshell is coming on the heals of a court case already instituted by Sen Bwacha’s former Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over the Senator’s decamping to the All Progressives Congress (APC), apparently seeking for a gubernatorial nomination in Taraba State. The Suit No. FHC/JAL/CS/9/2022 is instituted in the Federal High Court, Jalingo Judicial Division, with the PDP as Plaintiff, while four others are mentioned as the Defendants. The four defendants are: Sen Emmanuel Bwacha, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The core of the Suit is that the PDP is seeking the determination of the honourable Court, in the provision of Section 68(1)(g) and (20) of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), whether Sen Emmanual Bwacha should be compelled to vacate his seat, as the Senator of the Federal republic of Nigeria, representing Taraba South Senatorial District.
The source noted that PDP seems to be premising its case on the fact that the courts have recently been deciding these type of cases against the defectors, on the grounds that votes garnered during elections belong to the Party, but not to the contesting individual, thus making it impossible for individuals to cross platforms with their original victories. In the case of Sen Bwacha, his current battle with the courts is seen as a flexing of muscles pushed forward by Gov Darius Dickson Ishaku, of Taraba State, who is running a political battle with Sen Emmanuel Bwacha. With Gov Darius in firm grip of the PDP in Taraba State, it is easy to see how and why the PDP is there in Court with the aim of shattering Sen Bwacha’s ambition.
In the same vein, observers are suggesting that it is the same hands of Gov Darius Ishaku which have provided some of the financial transaction information available to the anti-graft and financial regulation agencies, which are currently on good report to indict Sen Bwacha of financial recklessness and financial crimes. In the leaked investigation document, Sen Bwacha is linked to some eight operating and active bank accounts, in both corporate and individual names. However, the source who is conversant with this particular investigation says that the main document contains more than twenty accounts linked to Sen Bwacha. What has been leaked “seems to be a summary” of the actual document.
According to the source, four bank accounts are largely the operating arena of Sen Bwacha’s irregular and clandestine financial dealings. Two of the accounts are corporate accounts, resident with Zenith Bank. The third and fourth bank accounts are in the individual name of Emmanuel Bwacha, resident in Polaris Bank, with Account No. 1767700993 and 0071772656 respectively. According to this leaked document, on January 25 this year, Bwacha’s PolarisAaccount No. 1767700993 received a large scale funding of N500 million. Beeds Ent Nigeria Ltd, with Account No. 2096715983 at Zenith Bank made the N500 million funding to Sen Bwacha’s Polaris Bank Account. Initially, Polaris Bank recorded this transaction under a Suspense General Ledger account, which authorities view as a diversionary stunt by Polaris Bank to exonerate itself from complicity in any wrong doing on this transaction.
Then, two days later, on 27th of January 2022, Sen Bwacha moved the whole of this N500 million, in two tranches of one hundred million naira (N100,000,000.00), and four hundred million naira (N400,000,000.00) from this account to “a ghost account” of his in this same Polaris Bank, with Account No. 0071772656, which investigators see as a Savings Account. Investigators have noticed that this seemingly savings account “is not queriable at bank counter level”, so they tag the account as “ghost”, or “structured down”. It is noteworthy that “structured down” accounts are not reachable by external auditors and inspectors. Thus, according to a query on this leaked document, Sen Bwacha, with the active connivance of Polaris Bank, has successfully hidden N500 million from prying eyes. It is rom this “ghost” account that Sen Bwacha funds his clandestine activities.
The other two corporate accounts are: Eloheem Properties Development Limited, with Account No. 1015365504 at Zenith Bank, and the Eloheem Suites Limited, a hotel business outfit, with Account No. 1013165470, at the same Zenith Bank. Sen Emmanuel Bwacha and his wife, Deborah Bwacha, are found to be signatories to these accounts. In Particular, Deborah Bwacha is seen to be the chief operating officer to the Eloheem Properties Development Limited account. According to the transactions present on these accounts, investigators believe that these accounts are not run on the businesses registered for them.
According to the source, investigators have alerted security agencies to track and follow certain of these transactions as they seem to be pointing towards “terrorism funding”, which is sometimes passed through money laundering. Investigators have noted that both Terrorism Funding” and “Money Laundering” are serious crimes committed with ill wealth gotten from public treasuries. By this flagging of these bank accounts, it is evident that the scrutiny on Bwacha’s money is going to involve a lot of people as one source confides that there are more than twenty bank accounts belonging to Sen Bwacha that are under investigation.
For instance, the leaked document has also indicated the flagging of about seven bank accounts belonging to Sen Bwacha’s friend and ally, Engr Ahmed Yusuf, popularly known as Gamaliya. Three of Engr Ahmad’s flagged accounts, according to the leaked document, are in Zenith Bank, while two each are in Access Bank and Guarantee Trust Bank. Engr Ahmed Yusuf’s flagged accounts in Zenith Bank include account numbers 5070110338, 10001271** and 54500579*. Those in Access Bank include account numbers 07012808* and 07011619*. Those in Guarantee Trust Bank include account numbers 00456765* and 00456765**. Investigators are querying the fact that Engr Ahmed Yusuf has no less than nine individual accounts in Guarantee Trust Bank alone.
Both Sen Bwacha and Engr Ahmed Yusuf have worked under Taraba State Government in the past, which makes it easy for inspectors to obtain information from State government sources.