EFCC: Protecting Looters?

Ibrahim Magu, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Acting Chairman

By Oji Odu

As controversies over the owner of the N13.3 billion recovered from Flat Seven B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), become messier, Senate President, Bukola Saraki regrets that the anti-graft agency and the parties involved have not managed the issue well, bringing the nation to greater disrespect.
He said that it has become embarrassing that the EFCC whose responsibility it is to tell Nigerians who the money belongs to, has not done so up till now and there was no clarity on the ownership of the money.
Saraki’s remarks on the cash discovery followed a revelation by the EFCC that it has obtained a warrant from a court to search all the apartments in Osborne Towers where the cash was discovered, allegedly owned by a former South-south Governor. Peter Obi, former Anambra state governor, Peter Obi occupies Flat One of the building.
The Senate President said what was presently going on was not good for the image of the country, and the National Assembly, as a last resort, might step in if the parties involved are unable to resolve it and tell Nigerians what is going on.
“I believe this is something simple that the organisation (EFCC) should manage, even before the speculation started coming out. The circus has to come to end as to whether it belongs to individuals, companies, agencies or a state government.
“We, however, believe they will sort it out and eventually tell Nigerians who owns the money. Nigerians deserve to know. The circus must stop,” he said.

The Senate President said Nigerians should not see the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration as the fight of President Muhammadu Buhari, but should see it as a Nigerian fight, as it can only be won when viewed as an institutional issue rather than a personal one.
“I believe progress will be made faster if the process is transparent. Those are ways to strengthen institutions. When the process is transparent up to the investigative stage, people will not believe that it is because of this person that so, so, person is being prosecuted.Corrupt people are very patient, but with a transparent process, the fight against corruption will be won”, he added.
Following the notification to all the occupants of the building by the EFCC that its operatives will carry out a search of all the apartments,the Magazine learnt that about 21 flats were searched on Monday, April 17, 2017, including the penthouse and three flats belonging to former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Adamu Mu’azu, Obi among others.
The Magazine also gathered that the security agents who searched Flat One belonging to former Anambra state Governor Obi were not surprised to see an averagely furnished apartment. They still marveled at his low profile lifestyle in the midst of high level corruption in the country.
The reason for the search arose from the suspicion that there might be more cash hidden in another apartment at Osborne Towers, other than Flat 7B as was revealed by the whistle blower.
Meanwhile, fireworks arising from the accusations and counter-accusations over the N13.3 billion continued over the Easter holidays. Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, described as absurd the claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that looters have resorted to burying stolen funds in their backyards, forests and burial grounds.
In statement issued on Monday, the Governor alleged that looters in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, especially those being compensated for funding the election of the president in 2015, had buried their own loot in the State House with presidential protection.
He wondered if it would be “wrong for other supposed looters that do not have presidential protection like their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts to bury their loot in cemeteries, possibly for spiritual protection”.
“Nigerians can no longer be fooled with stage-managed loot recoveries, with no traceable owners, especially when the loot is traceable to close associates of the president and his cabinet members.
“Obviously, this so-called anti-corruption war has become a laughing stock with N49 million found in Kaduna airport, N448 million discovered in a shop in Victoria Island, Lagos, and N13 billion found in Ikoyi, Lagos, neither having owners nor the identities of owners of the properties where the money was found known,” he said.
The Ekiti governor however regretted that two different laws were now being operated in the country, with one law for the APC and those who decamp to the party, and the other for the opposition, especially those perceived as having presidential ambition.
“The narrative they push daily is that only those in their government are saints while other Nigerians, including those in the National Assembly, judiciary, opposition politicians and the civil servants are rogues while only Buhari’s appointees are saint
“The cabal in the presidency is also taking advantage of the president’s state of health, which is as a result of his age to oppress Nigerians,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has written to a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, and Lere Olayinka, Media Aide to Fayose, giving them a seven-day ultimatum to retract their allegations that he owns the money discovered in the apartment, failing which he would sue them for defamation.
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has demanded that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and Fayose must apologise to Amaechi for linking him to the Ikoyi billions.
Fayose, in statement issued on Monday by Olayinka, said looters in the Muhammadu Buhari administration, especially those being compensated for funding the election of the president in 2015, have buried their own loot in the State House with presidential protection.
The Ekiti governor wondered if it would be “wrong for other supposed looters that do not have presidential protection like their All Progressives Congress (APC) counterparts to bury their loot in cemeteries, possibly for spiritual protection”.
“Nigerians can no longer be fooled with stage-managed loot recoveries, with no traceable owners, especially when the loot is traceable to close associates of the president and his cabinet members.
“Obviously, this so-called anti-corruption war has become a laughing stock with N49 million found in Kaduna airport, N448 million discovered in a shop in Victoria Island, Lagos, and N13 billion found in Ikoyi, Lagos, neither having owners nor the identities of owners of the properties where the money was found known,” he said.
Fayose maintained that it was either the monies belong to members of Buhari’s government or was being planted by the government to sustain its “fake anti-corruption fight” in the minds of the people.
He said: “Enough of the stage-managed and fake anti-corruption war aimed solely at opposition figures, especially presidential hopefuls in the 2019 elections.”
The Ekiti governor stated that two different laws were now being operated in the country, with one law for the APC and those who decamp to the party and the other for the opposition, especially those perceived as having presidential ambition.
“The narrative they push daily is that only those in their government are saints while other Nigerians, including those in the National Assembly, judiciary, opposition politicians and the civil servants are rogues while only Buhari’s appointees are saints.
“To worsen matters, the cluelessness of the APC government in the last two years has plunged the country into debt without anything to show for it.
“The cabal in the presidency is also taking advantage of the president’s state of health, which is as a result of his age to oppress Nigerians.
“Nigerians must therefore keep their eyes on the ball and not be carried away by the orchestrated distractions aimed at preventing them from seeing how the APC-led government has failed woefully,” he said.
He also called on the international community to hold Nigeria accountable on the recovered N13 billion cash found in that Ikoyi apartment, warning: “This must not be swept under the carpet.”
However, as Fayose lambasted the Muhammadu Buhari administration, Amaechi, in the letter written on his behalf by his lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), gave Fani-Kayode and Olayinka seven days to retract their posts on the social media and apologise to the former governor for dragging his name into the controversy over who owns the billions of naira retrieved by the EFCC last week from the Ikoyi residence.
The letter to Fani-Kayode read in part: “The attention of our client has been drawn to your tweet posted on your twitter timeline @realFFK, where you claimed that ‘the $43 million is Rotimi Amaechi’s. He owns the flat it was found in too. NIA story is fake news! NIA does not keep cash in minister’s flats’.
“This story as uploaded by you is to your knowledge blatantly false, malicious and is aimed at impeaching the credit of our client, a two-time speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, a two-time governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federation.
“Our client neither owns the cash nor the house where the cash was found and your story and claim are unfounded.
“Your twitter rant of 14/04/2014 at 04:16 was viewed by your 316,000 followers, re-tweeted 1,209 times and made a favourite by 434 followers as at the time of writing this letter today (April 14, 2017) at 7.15 p.m. and the list is increasing by the minute and same has satisfied all the conditions needed for a successful defamation case against you.”
Amaechi’s lawyer while threatening a N500 million suit for damages, gave Fani-Kayode seven days to issue an apology in five national dailies and on his twitter handle.
Reacting to the letter, Fani-Kayode said he was yet to receive the letter or court processes from the minister but was ready to meet him in count.
As the theatricals continue, Nigerians are surprised at the rate alleged stolen monies, yet without owners are recovered in unimaginable places. It is hoped that government will utilise them judiciously to improve the sufferings of Nigerians.

Related posts

Leave a Comment