16 April 2017, Lagos – With the controversy trailing the recovered N15 billion from a flat in Ikoyi, Lagos last week, pressure is now mounting on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which carried out the raid, to speak out on the recovered funds.
Though, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) had said that it owned the money, which it claimed was for its covert operations, while responding to THISDAY enquiries off the record, the EFCC, which carried out the raid and announced the recovery, has kept mum since controversy began to trail the ownership of the money.
EFCC had on Thursday stormed a luxury apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos, where it discovered cash in three currencies stashed in fire-proof safes. During the raid on one of the flats on the 7th floor of Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, a total of N13 billion, made up of $43.4million, N23million and £27,000, was found.
Although the EFCC did not give details of the operation, four names were immediately touted as alleged owners of the money. Those allegedly linked to the flat and cash include former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party and owner of the Osborne Towers, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, who was recently relieved of her appointment as Managing Director of NNPC (Retail); and an alleged daughter of Chief Tony Anenih, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP. They have all refuted the allegations.
A curious dimension was also added to the controversy with the claim by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, that the recovered money was allegedly stolen from the state coffers by his immediate predecessor and current Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi. He consequently released a white paper which indicted the former governor of corruption. Amaechi has refuted the allegation.
While effort by THISDAY to reach EFCC yesterday on the issue was unsuccessful, a majority of prominent Nigerians, who spoke exclusively to THISDAY insisted that to put the controversy surrounding the money to rest, the EFCC must speak on the intelligence that led the agency to the building, the result of its investigation and the ownership of the money.
Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who claimed the development was a reflection of the rot in the President Muhammadu Buhari government, insisted it was a problem created by the government itself, asking: “Are these not agencies of government? Don’t they have defined responsibilities and roles? Why are they interloping each other?”
According to him, “Government set up commissions by law to fight corruption and they are fighting each other, is that not corruption? What is happening now shows the rottenness in the government.
“Those who rejected the DSS report on Magu, what have they to say? Is that not the body empowered to investigate any public officer and this agency sent a report to the Senate that Magu was not credible to lead EFCC and you declined their report and yet, you still keep them. The moment you have lost confidence in them, you sack them since you no longer believe in them?
“That’s the responsibility of a responsible government. The moment you are no longer confortable with an agency or its recommendations, you sack them. In fact, this is the first time in the history of government in this country that the DSS recommendation was turned down and when you don’t believe in it anymore, you sack them. You can’t continue to keep the DSS there because you have shown that you are not comfortable with them. If a permanent secretary doesn’t perform, what do you do? You sack!” he said.
- This Day