28 March 2016, Lagos – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to reopen a case of alleged subsidy fraud against an oil company, MOB Integrated Services Limited, which is headed by Mr. Gbolahan Obanikoro, a son of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
The company was said to have made three transactions valued at N5,393,592,906.62.
Investigations, however, allegedly revealed that the company only made one transaction valued at N3,261,263,992.52 verified as legitimate.
The difference of over N2bn was said to have been allegedly diverted as MOB did not make the needed oil supply.
The Aigboje Imokhuede-led Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation had referred MOB and about 47 other companies to the EFCC and the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police for investigation in 2012.
Sources at the commission told our correspondent that after Obanikoro was appointed the Minister of State for Defence, the case was suspended indefinitely.
The source added, “Gbolahan Obanikoro is the Managing Director of the said company and the company was among those given subsidy money.
“The company was given N5,393,592,906.62 for three separate transactions for fuel importation. However, only one transaction worth N3,261,263,992.52 was verified. We believe that the remaining money was diverted.
“The SFU started investigations into the matter but it was then referred to the EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Lamorde. However, the matter was secretly quashed after Obanikoro was appointed a minister.”
Obanikoro’s two sons, Gbolahan and Babajide, are under investigation by the commission as part of the probe into the $2.1bn meant for arms procurement.
The EFCC had allegedly traced the sum of N4.75bn to the account of Silva McNamara Limited with Diamond Bank with links to the family of the former minister.
The two sons of Obanikoro were said to have been board members of the company when the said transaction took place.
They had, however, denied that they were still on the board of the company when the alleged transaction took place.
Investigations into the Obanikoros have been stalled due to the fact that they have all relocated to the United States.
When contacted on the telephone, a spokesperson for the Obanikoros, who did not want his name in print, said the allegation in question was an old one, adding that MOB Integrated Services had been cleared.
He said, “Authorities don’t announce to the media when they are set to launch or reopen an investigation. It is customary for them to extend a formal invitation. ‘‘Moreover, our company was thoroughly investigated painstakingly for over two years with maximum cooperation on the subject matter by both the EFCC and the SFU; so, one truly wonders the source of this story.”