EFCC sends INTERPOL after ‘fleeing’ suspects

EFCC• More than 40 persons seized in two months
• Commission, auditors to co-operate , fault Asian countries’ stance
EXTENDING the anti-corruption campaign beyond the nation’s borders, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has turned to the global police organisation Interpol for help in tracing and apprehending former government officials who have been indicted for graft.
An official of the commission confided in The Guardian last night that such indicted persons who have left the shores of Nigeria would certainly be caught.
“There is no hiding place. Interpol is helping in fishing them out,” he said.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 40 persons have been arrested in the new anti-corruption drive of the EFCC which started with the arrest of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki by operatives of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), on December 1, 2015.
Same day, he was handed over to the anti-graft commission on allegations of a $2.1 billion and another N643 billion arms procurement fraud.
Also, the EFCC and the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria have agreed to improve synergy in the area of financial investigations both in Nigeria and outside the country while decrying the situation where some Asian countries have not been assisting the auditors on such investigations.
In a related development, EFCC says it has the capacity to prosecute everyone so far arrested, quizzed and detained in the on-going arms scandal, adding that some have not been charged to court because the commission is still carrying out investigations.
Interpol is currently on the trail of Abdulrasheed Maina, chairman of defunct Pension Reform Task Team who is alleged to have stolen pension money. He is believed to be hiding in the United Arab Emirate (UAE).
But following President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent agreement with UAE leaders, it is believed that that country would assist in the repatriation of Nigeria’s stolen money and corrupt persons.
Although the anti-graft agency would not specifically disclose the names currently on the Interpol list, an inside source recalled that former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko and former Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, are currently out of the country.
Former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke, whose husband was recently quizzed for alleged money laundering, is also in London, where she is said to be on cancer treatment.
Spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Wilson Uwujaren told The Guardian that some suspects still in detention were being held in Abuja while others were in Lagos. He also gave an indication that the commission had court permission papers to keep holding them so they could help further with the investigations.
Since the EFCC seized Sambo Dasuki, scores of others from politicians to military personnel, to persons in the oil and petroleum industry as well as the media have also been arrested and quizzed.
They include former Air Mashal Alex Badeh, Air Mashal Adeshola Amosu, ex- Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal M.D. Umar; Col. N. Ashinze and AVM A. M. Mamu.
Others are: AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo, AVM R.A. Ojuawo; AVM J.B. Adigun; and AVM JA Kayode-Beckley; AVM T Omenyi, Air Cdre A.O Ogunjobi; Air Cdre GMD Gwani; Air Cdre SO Makinde; and Air Cdre AY Lassa.
At the Nigeria Air Force (NAF), another $2 billion and N29 billion fraud was allegedly discovered in contract award spending.
The alleged fraudulent contracts include how 10 contracts to the tune of $930,500,690.00 were awarded, payment of N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts, procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00, four used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at US$7,180,000.00 funded by ONSA, cannibalisation of engines from NAF fleet to justify procurement of jets, excessive pricing of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar at $33 million instead of $6 million per one and delivery of radars without vital component of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) that distinguishes between own and adversary aircraft.
Other areas being investigated by the EFCC are the transfer of $2 million to Mono Marine Corporation Nigeria Limited owned by some Air Force officers, N15 billion allegedly lavished on the maintenance of its Alpha-Jets, C-130H aircraft and Mi-24V/35P helicopters, N2.5billion contracts awarded to Syrius Technologies, a Ukrainian company not registered in Nigeria, award of seven contracts worth N599,118,000.00 contracts to Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria(DICON) but two delivered.
Many of those arrested and being investigated are still in detention; some for more than three weeks.
Others arrested and quizzed got some share of the arms money from the office of the former NSA. They are mainly politicians and media personalities.
They include former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and his son, former Minister of Defence, Haliru Bello Muhammed and his son, spokesman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh among others.
The EFCC has also delved into the petroleum sector. While it is gathering evidence in the investigations that involve former ministers of finance; and petroleum resources, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Alison Diezani Madueke, the commission has had to quiz oil magnate, Jide Omokhore from whose company, $1.4 million was reportedly recovered a week ago in oil royalties accruing to the Federal Government.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu had not long ago, informed the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes that the commission was investigating the former ministers and the petroleum sector. He was responding to a committee member’s question.
On November 2, 2015, the EFCC declared Maina wanted for his alleged role in the fraudulent biometric contracts issued while he held office as the chairman of defunct PRTT. He was initially charged to court on July 21, 2015 alongside former Head of Service, Steve Oronsaye, Osarenkhoe Afe and Fredrick Hamilton Global Services Limited for allegedly stealing pension funds.
On January 6, 2016 the EFCC arrested and detained the first chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to be questioned in the arms procurement case, a former Military Administrator of Kaduna State, Gen. Lawal Jafaru Isa, who is also a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Isa, after 18 hours of interrogation was released on an administrative bail after he had paid N100 million of the N170 million he allegedly got from the arms deal. The EFCC statement afterwards read that Jafar had written an undertaken to refund the remainder of the funds he received.
As investigations into the arms deal spread wider, the EFCC arrested a former Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to former President Jonathan), Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, who is alleged to have received N10 billion from the office of former NSA.
The sum, which was allegedly collected in dollars and amounted to $47 million and some Euros, was allegedly for disbursement to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination convention delegates. The money was allegedly got from oil proceeds.
Adegbe is still in EFCC custody, helping with investigations while his alleged accomplice is said to be outside the country.
The military has also announced that 15 officers were last week sent to the EFCC for interrogation after which they would be tried by the military if found culpable by the anti-graft agency.
While some of the suspects were quizzed and granted administrative bail, the EFCC has taken some others to court. They include Bashir Yuguda, Attahiru Bafarawa, Haliru Bello Muhammed, Olisa Metuh and Sambo Dasuki.
Former Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko is being investigated in connection with some corruption charges whose details are still scanty.
Early in January the EFCC searched his No. 6 Ahmed Musa residence in the Jabi area of Abuja. He is believed to be out of the country. Also, former Director General of Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) , Patrick Akpobolokemi is being investigated in five different cases by the EFCC.
One of the cases involves a N34 billion alleged scam he allegedly committed with former Niger Delta militant Government Ekpemuopolo known as Tompolo.
Akpobolokemi is also being prosecuted in another case of N2.6 billion alleged fraud, as well as three other cases, all in court. Tompolo has been declared wanted by the EFCC and the police have been on his trail.
Chairman of the Auditors’ Association, Bimbo Dawodu said during a visit to the commission that it had become imperative for the EFCC and the auditors to revive the collaboration they used to have in the past in terms of investigating and prosecuting suspected fraudsters. He noted that the commission in the past, helped with tips on how to handle situations where suspects in fraud cases escaped prosecution.
He also enjoined the EFCC to revive the relationship with the auditors in the area of capacity building and extending such synergy to investigations beyond the shores of Nigeria.
Other members of the association used the opportunity to enlist EFCC’s cooperation in getting other nations to cooperate with the auditors in the area of financial investigations. They named China and some other Asian countries as those which were not cooperating with such investigations.
In response, EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu confirmed that China’s cooperation level was not encouraging. “But we can go either through Interpol or government to government,” he said.

Post a Comment