EFCC recovers N6.5b in cash, properties
• We reported Alison-Madueke’s transactions, says bank
• NBC ex-boss, commissioners deny N3.4b fraud
As investigations continue and more discoveries are being made in the controversial arms procurement deal, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recovered up to N6.5 billion in the last two weeks.
Much of the recoveries were allegedly from the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Mashall Adesola Amosu.
According to reports, Amosu, about a fortnight ago, returned N2.3 billion to the Federal Government. Also, properties worth about N500 million were reportedly seized from him while another N381million was allegedly refunded by his wife, Omolara. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine was also reportedly seized from Amosu’s diagnostic centre this week by the EFCC. The machine is said to be worth N2.6 billion. Altogether, N5.78 billion has been recovered from Amosu alone in less than two weeks.
Other recoveries made this week include a combined sum of N580 million (£2 million) in jewelries, allegedly from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison Diezani-Madueke, and wife of her associate, Jide Omokore. This is excluding houses seized from both Diezani-Madueke and Omokore.
The commission said that former Minister of State for Finance, who was the Director of Finance of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation, Nenadi Usman, had submitted two of her houses and pledged to refund N140 million.
These recoveries are coming just as the amount being investigated in connection with the arms procurement deal has gone up to $15 billion, from the $2 billion alleged fraud at the Nigeria Air Force for which Amosu, the former Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) and other serving and retired officers are being investigated. Altogether, so far, the total amount being investigated has gone up to $17 billion. This is aside from a fresh $12.9 billion arms fraud uncovered this week by the EFCC.
The recovery of this $17 billion is at the centre of all efforts by the EFCC at the moment. Aside from the cash and assets recovered, the commission still has the duty to recover another N23.3 billion ($115 million) from an alleged transaction between Diezani and the management of a new generation bank whose managing director and head of operations are currently in EFCC custody.
According to the commission, this amount was routed through the bank by ex-government officials who served in the last administration.
“The bank’s MD got the money from Diezani. She summoned him to her house and told him that four companies would deposit money into his bank. The former minister herself deposited $26 million. The whole amount they deposited was $115 million.
“Where the problem is, is that when a bank receives such money they are supposed to fill the suspicious transaction form and forward it to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). But the bank didn’t do this. Rather the MD went ahead and distributed the money as he was instructed by the former minister.”
But the embattled Fidelity Bank has said that the $115 million transaction it allegedly had with Alison-Madueke was duly reported to the regulators.
In a statement from its Head of Corporate Communications, Ejike Ndiulo, the bank claimed to be cooperating with the anti-graft agency and that it was working to resolve the issues.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren declined giving official figures on the recovered funds so far. However, chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, had several weeks back, stated that the EFCC had recovered “billions and billions” for the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the former Director-General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Emeka Mba, and 10 commissioners of the commission have taken strong exception to their being portrayed as corrupt, and have written to the EFCC explaining their role in the sale of a spectrum to the MTN for $171 million.
In a letter by their counsel, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), demanding confirmation, clarification and rescheduling of their invitation by the EFCC, the commissioners took time to debunk allegations of fraud in the sale of the spectrum to MTN.
Last weekend, it was disclosed by an EFCC source that the board members were going to be questioned in batches, with the first batch expected to appear before a panel of investigators last Monday.
They were to be questioned over issues surrounding the sale/lease of a spectrum to a telecoms firm for $171million (about N34,114,500.00) and how 10 percent broker fees, amounting to N3.4 billion was paid a company even before presidential approval was secured.
But condemning the manner the allegation against them was leaked to the media, the board members objected to the approach adopted by the EFCC which their lawyer said they perceived to “amount to deliberate media persecution and conviction calculated to embarrass and disparage their reputation in the eyes of the public and before their families and friends.”