Pressure Mounts on EFCC to Speak out on Recovered N15bn

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EFCC Officials
  • Wike releases white paper to support claim against Amaechi  
  • Ex-Rivers gov insists allegation is diversionary

Olawale Olaleye in Lagos, Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Ogheneuvwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja

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.

Former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba was palpably irritated when he said, “The whole thing is a total disgrace of the highest order and there’s a total display of sordid incompetence. A whistleblower should have told them the owner of what he’s blowing the whistle on. EFCC too should have taken the trouble to monitor the place and catch whoever owns it red-handed. I say it is a disgrace because a body claims to have recovered a huge sum of money and within three hours, they touted four names as the owners.

“It was first Muazu. Muazu denied and said he was not the owner and in any case, Muazu is not in the country. They now went on to Esther, and Esther denied. Then, they went to Anenih’s daughter and that one too denied. Then, then said it was Amaechi and Wike now came out of the blues to say it is Rivers’ money. I cannot believe that a serious body would run itself into such a situation, where its credibility is being questioned. I am really not impressed at all.

“EFCC has made the mistake of confirming that the internet bloggers are their agents because all these names were being touted, not by major newspapers but internet bloggers, who are not themselves in any way professional. EFCC has to go and search itself, clear its name and stop this trial by the media.

“I say this because of the recent happenings. For instance, up till now, we don’t know the owner of the N49 million found in Kaduna. Did the money fall from heaven like manna? You went to a market and you said you found N250 million and so what? Are we not a cash society? Do we politicians not throw money around and pay cash to our agents during campaigns? Does that turn us into money launderers? During elections we pay our agents cash. We don’t send money to them by bank transfer or cheques. Nigeria is still largely a cash society. It is not a big deal at all. There’s no law that says it’s a crime to keep cash in your house.

“To compound it all, two major agencies of government – NIA and EFCC – started to wash their linen in the public, giving the impression of lack of cooperation. NIA now lays claim to the money and we are yet to have the reaction of EFCC. It is a disgrace to our country that two sister agencies are now working against each other with inadequate cooperation. I feel ashamed as a journalist that the information coming from our agencies is through the bloggers.”

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Eyimofe Atake, was not less disappointed, saying “In truth, by now EFCC must know who has the money and it is easy to find out who owns the flat or rented it. If you don’t know who owns the flat, you will know who rented it; if you don’t know who rented it, you will know who owns it.

“Either way, I am convinced that by now, the EFCC knows who owns the flat or who rented it at the very least. Why they are keeping mute is the most shocking part of this matter.

“My view, therefore, is that by now, the EFCC knows who owns the flat or rented it. But it is baffling that they are silent and nothing is being done about it. One thing is also clear: keeping such money in the house also shows that the money is illegal.”

The scribe of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, also described the development as “The greatest embarrassment for the anti-graft war in Nigeria. That the EFCC will rush to the public and make a scene about its discovery, in any case, that’s even the first tragedy. Initially, EFCC told us that $38 million was found. But immediately there was a claim that the money belongs to NIA and they went to court, the money became $43 million dollars.

“So, what was going to happen to the $5 million differential if the NIA had not allegedly claimed the money? And I think this speaks to the integrity issue which the DSS raised in its letter to the Senate. If a whole $5million suddenly surfaced after NIA claimed the money, that’s the first test of EFCC’s integrity. The second thing is that if you go to Alausa today, as a lawyer, to verify the title of that property, in a day, you can do that, to know the title of the house, who owns it and if it has been transferred to another person.

“So, if a whole EFCC cannot confirm the title or the identity of the owner of that property, then, there is problem. Now, we have this forth and back: oh, the money is owned by NIA; NIA said the money is…and up till now we’ve not heard from NIA – NIA has not made any statement, which raises a lot of concern and I think how EFCC handles this will determine whether Nigerians will continue to take it seriously.

“This is because, as a whistleblower, the first thing is who owns this money. You should be interested. In fact, we will be interested in seeing the owner of this money paraded than the cash being paraded. I don’t know of any serious country in the world, where there is sanity; where there is decency, where they have not lost their values and they would display money like that in front of children and in front of hungry people on a daily basis.

“I think the EFCC integrity is seriously being challenged here just like the DSS wrote to the Senate that there is integrity issue in EFCC, so the integrity of EFCC is being challenged over this recovered fund,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wike has not relented in his push to recover what he called Rivers money, accusing the federal government of a desperate attempt to cover up corruption in its handling of the money recovered by the EFCC at Osborne Towers because its “principal financial sponsor” (Amaechi) was involved.

But Amaechi has described Wike’s allegations as frivolous, malicious and diversionary.

In the same breath, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has also said Wike was using his allegations to divert attention from the accusation by embattled National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, that the governor spent $6 million to bribe Supreme Court judges on the tussle for the national chairmanship of the PDP.

Briefing Rivers Christian Leaders on the development at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, Wike stated that the Rivers State Government was not interested in the prosecution of Amaechi but simply seeking the return of funds belonging to the state.

He said once the federal government returns the money to the Rivers government, it would deploy it to the completion of Amaechi’s abandoned pet project, the monorail.

Wike said the promotion of insults and needless propaganda would not detract the State Government from recovering her “stolen resources” and declared that the state was ready for a lengthy battle with the federal government over the money.

“The federal government wants us to believe that a security agency will keep a whopping N16 billion in a private residence in cash. They think that Nigerians don’t have brains. When millions of dollars were found in Kaduna, the EFCC was quick to announce the owner of that money. Now they don’t know the whistleblower in the case of the Ikoyi billions and they are afraid to disclose the owner of the money.”

But Amaechi in a statement described the claims as malicious, frivolous and another failed attempt by Wike to divert attention from the mess he has created in Rivers State.

“This latest outburst by Wike is typical of him. We are aware that Wike first tried to float the fake news of Amaechi’s ownership of the recovered $43 million and the Ikoyi house in the social media using his minions and lackeys, spending huge sums of Rivers money on the failed project…

“For clarity and emphasis, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not the owner of the $43million and the Ikoyi apartment in which the money was recovered from…”

He however challenged Wike to go to court if he has any shred of evidence that the money belongs to Rivers State and was kept in the Ikoyi apartment.

In the same vein, the Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has questioned the sanity of the Rivers governor for making the wild allegation.

“Not too long ago, Wike apparently suffering from overdose of self-delusion said he had awarded road projects in faraway Benue State and had mobilised contractors to site. The same Wike has also accused the Inspector General of Police of plotting to assassinate him through the new CP in Rivers State.

“We thought these were jokes taken too far. But the clownish governor has surprised himself with another tales by moonlight in trying to link his former boss and benefactor to the unclaimed money. I think we need to check the sanity and mental status of Governor Wike. Time and time again, he is bringing ridicule to the office he occupies and embarrassing the people of Rivers State, who are known to be intelligent, responsible and decent in upbringing.”

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has equally accused the federal government of plotting to shield the real owner of the sums recovered by the EFCC to prove to Nigerians that its activity was not lopsided by naming and prosecuting its true owner.

The umbrella organisation of all political parties and association in the country dismissed the claims that the money belongs to NIA

In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, CNPP maintained that if it was found that the money and the apartment truly belonged to Amaechi, the cash should be returned to the River State treasury.

  • ALIYU

    ALL THIS YOUR POINTS HAS NO BASES. TO CROWN IT ALL, EFCC HAS DONE WONDERFULLY WELL BY EXPOSING AND UNEARTHING THE MONEY AND INCLUDING THE ONE RECENTLY CONFISCATED AT KADUNA AIRPORT. WELL DONE MR MAGU AND SHAME UNTO YOU THE ENEMIES OF PROGRESS.

  • musa aliero

    EFCC that hurriedly runs to newspapers to spew out propaganda and make sensational allegations against people (mainly PDP members) at the slightest instance of corruption with fake details and original all lumped together, has been silenced today because the money in question belongs to APC and it’s minister! Wonders shall end! Wilson uwajeren of EFCC and magu have nothing to say today?! Lord save this country fro
    Apc

  • Obianaefo

    some of the questions currently begging for answer are: 1. Who is the owner of the apartment in which the money was found? 2. Does the apartment also belong to the NIA? 3. If the apartment belong to the NIA, when was it bought and from whom? 4. If the apartment does not belong to the NIA, from whom and when was it rented? 5. How could a whistle-blower be aware of movement of money into one out of many apartments in a building without knowing the owner of the apartment? 6. If truly the NIA was carrying out a ‘covert operation’ as claimed, was President Muhammadu Buhari not briefed of the so-called ‘covert operation’ when he took over power? 7. Was the National Security Adviser (NSA), whose office controls all intelligence agencies, including the EFCC and DSS not aware of the ‘covert operation’? 8. Was there any security presence at the vicinity of the apartment to suggest that it was being used as warehouse for over N13 billion cash belonging to the NIA? 9. Does NIA need an unprotected apartment to keep such huge sum of money purportedly meant for ‘covert operation’? 10. How much was released for the so-called ‘covert operation’, how much has been spent and to who was account rendered up to date? “As for me, the script being acted on this discovered cash is a cover-up that will mar the EFCC and the federal government. It is a movie well scripted for some alawada (comedians) but acted so badly. Wike had allleged that the fund belongs to the Rivers state government “It is case of a dog that has been eating other people’s children to the admiration of its owner suddenly attacking the beloved son of the owner’s friend and they are now trying to cover-up the dog owner. “It is a major test of the integrity of the APC federal government’s so-called anti-corruption fight, and the earlier the proponents of the cover-up plot come back to their normal senses and tell Nigerians who owns the apartment in which the money was found, the better for them,” Fayose added. The governor maintained that in the last few weeks, we have been served with dramas of recovery of funds by the EFCC. READ ALSO: Primate Ayodele gives chilling prophecies about Nigeria He also noted that N49 million in cash ranging from N200 to N50 was said to have been found in Kaduna Airport and was promptly ‘arrested’ by EFCC officials. “But up till now, Nigerians have not been told the identities of those who brought the five sacks in which the cash was found into the airport despite the presence of CCTV cameras at the airport. “EFCC also fed Nigerians with tales of recovery of N448,850,000 cash from a shop at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. We were told that the shop had not been opened for two years and one wonders how the cash got into the shop. “Up till today, EFCC is yet to tell Nigerians the identity of the owner of the shop and Nigerians are asking whether or not the Legico Shopping Plaza, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos is not owned by anyone and the owner of the Plaza won’t be able to identify his or her tenant. “As for this latest drama, which has boomeranged, even though we know that the APC-led federal government has the capacity to sweep it under the carpet like many others before it, Nigerians will have it on record that they are being ruled by a government of “the more you look, the less you see,” the governor said. Read more: https://www.naij.com/1099709-fayose-demands-answers-10-questions-recovered-funds.html

  • The Truth

    This APC online news platforms have started to show there true colour. Just yesterday when This Day said this money is being claimed by NIA and Magu messed up ,they shouted that This Day is lying ,and even in there usual magical way of telling lies they even wanted to shamelessly connect Sarakis name to this matter. Now Wike has come out to expose them that this money is Rivers state money and everyone has gone silent. We are know no longer hearing from there reliable sources in EFCC. All of a sudden this same government that has illegally kept Dasuki locked up for close to 2 years with the accusation that he spent security money without accounting for it ,is saying they have been keeping secretly unaccounted for security money in private homes.Even with Dasuki they didn’t find this huge amount of cash Dollar. What is going on? All we are saying is who is the owner of that Osborne flat.All house ownership is registered with Lagos APC,they can easily tell EFCC and the public that information.It is obvious this money belongs to Presidential big wigs. If it belonged to an opposition party member they would have been singing the persons name like it was the person that caused all the problems in Nigeria. Even when you read Amaechi’s denial that he is not the owner of the money,he doesn’t once challenge the EFCC to release the name of the owner of the flat. And they are in the same government. Who is fooling who.

  • Japhet Attah

    Just passing… 🚶🚶🚶🚶

  • pius pumpum

    Nigerians are the most docile and gullible sect of people anyone can think of….i am quite surprise instead appreciating the work of this man Magu who seems to be the only one that has a bit of semblance of someone trying to challenge this deadly monster called corruption but we rather vilify him….who cares about modus of operandi our interest should be much more on results.Do anybody need a soothsayer to understand that money is proceed of corruption involving people at the heart of this government.Why can’t people read inbetween the lines,i’m shocked at people’s comment of blame on EFCC.To fight corruption and make any progress in this society where it is deeply embedded you must use extra ordinary means,atimes infact most times due process have to be breached.There is dearth of morality here where people don’t care about their actions as much there is any possible means to extricate themselves from any offence.

    As for Rotimi Chibike Amechi…every other person steals except you…we can’t be deceived any more,we now know better.You are just too hypocritical it is nauseating…

    • Milito

      You quite contradict yourself! At one hand you are singing praises of Magu and at the other you are confirming that this government is overtly and overwhelmingly corrupt . How on earth does Magu deserve this eulogy of yours? A man who made a public show of loots discovery but lack the spine or the knowledge of the persons behind the loot ? The guy is obviously the biggest disaster of anti corruption campaign in the entire world….

      Now we can see what the DSS and Senate saw in rejecting him. If I were him, the first thing to do is to go public with the owners of the fund (after all the whistle blower must have provided such )and then prosecute the persons with the evidence I have. If he doesn’t have any , then he should save his generation this perpetual disgrace and chronicles of shame by resigning immediately….

    • Divine Callcare

      AGREED! NIGERIANS, ESPECIALLY THE YOUTHS ARE THE MOST DOCILE, THE MOST GUIBLE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD! CAN THIS KIND OF MESS HAPPEN IN COUNTRIES LIKE THAILAND, EGYPT , OR EVEN IN South Africa? NO, IT CANNOT HAPPEN IN OTHER 3RD WORLD COUNTRIES LIKE OURS WITHOUT YOUTHS AND WOMEN POURING OUR IN THE STREETS FOR MASS PROTESTS UNTIL ALL THESE ABANDONED BILLIONS MYSTERIES ARE UNCOVERED.THIS IS OUR MONEY!

      YET YOUTHS BEMAON UNEMPLOYMENT AND POVERTY. HOW MANY JOBS DO YOU PEOPLE THINK ALL THESE STOLEN BILLIONS WOULD HAVE CREATED AMONGST THE UNEMPLOYED YOUTHS IF THEY WERE CHANNELED INTO CREATING NEW INDUSTRIES AND FACTORIES, OR EVEN USED IN FIXING NIGERIAN’S PERSISTED ELECTRICITY PROBLEMS THAT COULD REVOLUTIONISE HER ECONOMY? NIGERIA YOUTHS SHINE YOUR EYES!

      YOU ARE QUICK TO COME OUT IN MASS TO PROTEST TRIVIALITIES OR HESITANTLY TAKING MOB ACTION ON PETTY THIEVES BY PUTTING OLD TYRES ON THEIR NECKS AND SETTING THEM ABLAZE IN THE STREETS. BUT WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE BIG THIEVES THAT BENT YOUR LIVES? THE ISSUES THAT BORDER ON YOUR FUTURE AND WELL BEING OF YOUR ENTIRE GENERATIONS, YOU KEEP MUTE . THE LIST YOU COULD DO IS HOPPING TO LAUGH OVER IT AT AT BASKET MOUTH’S STAND-UP COMEDY BASH, OH! POOR NIGERIAN YOUTHS, WHEN WILL YOU WAKE UP? WHEN WILL YOU STAND UP TO TAKE YOUR FUTURE BACK? TAKE YOUR BELOVED NIGERIA BACK FROM THE BIG THIEVES!

  • Maria Darego

    Ibrahim Magu knew the real owner of the Flat and the Money before he mounted his operation! Neither the money or flat has anything to do with the NIA, NNPC Staff, Anenih’s daughter, or Muazu. The operation was a warning shot at President Buhari, Chief of Staff Abba Kyari, DSS DG Daura, Presidential Cousin/Bagman Mamman Daura, SGF BabaChir Lawal, and AGF Malami. Ibrahim Magu is warning all of them that they should stop messing with him as he knows how rotten they all are. The message that Magu is sending is that they should leave him at his EFCC position in peace, else he would set about exposing them. These people, with President’s Buhari’s nod, have been tormenting Magu just because Air Vice Marshal Umar (whom Magu only met through President Buhari and who Magu got close to because Magu saw how close Umar was to Buhari) was extorting money from people using Magu’s name (Ibe Kachikwu alone paid Umar US$5 million). Ibrahim Magu is warning them not to corner him. The real owner of the money is just collateral damage in an ongoing civil war among President Buhari’s thieves. It is now President Buhari’s headache as he must now figure out how to return the money to the “innocent owner” who is not part of this civil war at all! My guess is that there would be a commensurate increase in budget allocation and release to the Federal Ministry of Transport in the next budget.

    • CRIMOND

      Correct analysis, Well done.

  • Lary

    IGNORANCE! INVESTIGATIONS ARE ONGOING SO YOU DON’T EXPECT THE PRESIDENT TO JUST COME OUT AND SPEAK YET. LETS BE PATIENT. THE COURT HAS GRANTED TEMPORAL FORFEITURE, IF THE OWNER DOES NOT SHOW UP, THEN IT IS LOST TO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. YOU CANNOT INDICT OR CALL NAMES WITHOUT CONCRETE EVIDENCE. PLEASE LETS STOP ACCUSING AND LISTENING TO IGNORANT PEOPLE. I READ A COMMENT BY A POLITICIAN THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG KEEPING SUCH VOLUME ON FUNDS AT HOME. HE TOLD US HOW THEY POLITICIANS THROUGH AND PAY CASH (STOLEN CASH) DURING ELECTIONS. WE ARE IN AN ERA OF ACCOUNTABILITY. YOU OWN THE MONEY, GOOD, THEN LET US KNOW HOW YOU CAME ABOUT IT AND THEN ITS BACK TO YOU, NEVER MIND, IF ITS NOT STOLEN FUNDS OR MONEY LAUNDERING, THE OWNER WILL SHOW UP SOON. LET GIVE KUDOS TO MAGU`S EFCC AND OUR PRESIDENT WHO HAS REFUSED TO REMOVE/SACK THE PERFORMING EFCC CHAIRMAN. ITS ALL FOR THE GOOD OF ALL NIGERIAN WITH EXCEPTION TO THOSE THAT HAVE MILKED US FOR DECADES. THIS IS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE MASSES LETS LEND OUR SUPPORT,

  • Ossy

    Foolish responses, When will Nigerian youths ever wake up? “Leaders of tomorrow my” foot. brainless set of nonentities. Mtcheeew

  • vic

    NIGERIA A COUNTRY OF THIEVES LOOTERS AND THUGS.

    BUHARI IS THE CHIEF THIEF HERE UNDER WHOSE NOSE THESE THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

    BUHARI IS A BIG CROOK WHO DECEIVES, DENIES, TELLS LIES AND PROTECTS THIEVES AND LOOTERS IN HIS CORRUPT GOVERNMENT.

  • Intrepid

    A NEPOTIST(BUHARI), can never fight corruption. Forget about all these noise of integrity.

  • AUSTIN OKWUEGBU

    I said this even before the senate twice rejections of Magu, that the guy Magu, is a joke. He is very unpolished, corrupt and worst of all, has no iota of professionalism, in handling of such an office of the EFCC chairmanship magnitude. In all these saga, Buhari has shown and continuous to show, that he is still in the military mentality syndrome. Magu should’ve been gone even before the twice senate rejections, once the obvious signs of his incompetency became clear.

  • Milito

    What a shame ? The most troubling for me is the inglorious silence of Mr President in all these melodrama. Do we still have a President? How on earth will such be happening and the man can’t utter a word himself ? A man reputed to hate corruption with passion….?

    Something obviously is wrong and the political class need to confess….

    • Intrepid

      The President is in a ”SLEEPING MODE”. Courtesy, The Masked Phantom.

      • vic

        THE MAN IS BRAIN DEAD RUN BY AND MANIPULATED BY HIS ASO ROCK CORRUPT CABAL.

    • vic

      THE PRESIDENT IS CORRUPT AND A MIGHTY THIEF HIMSELF. HE PROTECTS THIEVES IN HIS GOVERNMENT AND PRACTICES SHAMELESSLY DOUBLE STANDARDS. HE IS A MAN OF NO BASE AND NO CHARACTER. BUHARI IS A COMPLETE DEADWOOD AND A LIABILITY TO NIGERIA AND NIGERIANS.