Fresh controversy has trailed the discovery of a whopping sum of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 seized Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos.
THE WILL reports that National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Nigeria’s equivalent of the United State’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is claiming ownership of the recovered monies.
According to online newspaper, a top ranking government official with knowledge of the latest twist to the seizure disclosed that NIA Director General, Ambassador Ayodele Oke, has been in touch with EFCC’s boss, Ibrahim Magu, to express his displeasure over the raid at the apartment used as one of NIA’s safe houses in Lagos for its clandestine operations.
The official said Magu, whose confirmation as substantive chairman of the agency has been frustrated by the DSS and the Senate, has been under pressure to show President Muhammadu Buhari the billions of naira he told the president during a meeting that the EFCC had recovered under his leadership. “So he is on a reckless search for monies hence all these strings of raids and seizures within the last one week,” the source who asked not be identified said.
“I can authoritatively tell you that money belongs to the NIA. The DG has come forward to claim it and has informed my office of the development. He is furious with Magu for his agency’s recklessness and for compromising their operations,” the official reportedly said.
Meanwhile, Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday ordered the temporary forfeiture of the cash and ordered that the funds be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government and adjourned till May 5, 2017, for anyone interested in the funds to show up before him to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, a former Managing Director, Operations, at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had initially been linked to the cash found in an apartment on the 7th floor. She denied ownership of the cash in a statement by her attorney Thursday though admitted residing on the second floor.
Meanwhile, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Adamu Mu’azu says the building where the cash was discovered was actually built by him.
In a statement Thursday, the former Bauchi governor said he built the apartment from her loan facility he got from a commercial bank nine years ago.
He said he had no knowledge of the occupants of the building as he sold the apartments through established agents.
The statement said, “My attention has been drawn to the news making the rounds that I own the building on No.16 Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. I want to state clearly that I built the said property and sold to prospective buyers of individual flats. I have been a property developer since 1983 and I have developed and sold several properties all over the world.
“The property in question happens to be one of them. I acquired the land and jointly developed it using a bank loan I obtained about nine years ago. However, all the flats have been sold to prospective buyers in order to pay back the loan. I do not own or occupy any of the apartments.
“I sold all the apartments through established estate agents as such I have no knowledge or interest in who purchases or rents any of the flats.”
Mu’azu also commended the efforts of the federal government in fighting corruption.
He said, “I commend the efforts of the official of the EFCC and the government’s drive at fighting corruption and also the media in informing the public on illicit and corrupt proceeds.
“My response is not intended to jeopardise or interfere with the ongoing investigation of the anti-graft and security agencies but to clear the misconception that the house in question belongs to me. I strongly believe that the efforts being made will surely unveil the real owner of such flat and the monies recovered.”
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