Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday confirmed the arrest of Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora, Mr. Osaze Osemwingie-Ero, by operatives of the INTERPOL, saying he is on its watch-list for alleged money laundering.
A senior staff member of the anti-graft agency who spoke with THISDAY in Abuja in confidence, said he expected the INTERPOL to hand over the commissioner to EFCC for more investigation once it is done with him.
Osemwingie-Ero was said to have been arrested in France recently for alleged money laundering, after being found in possession of US$2 million.
He is said to be currently being detained and queried by INTERPOL. With a full name: The International Criminal Police Organisation, it is an inter-governmental organisation that operates in 194 member countries, including Nigeria, and help police to work together to make the world a safer place.
To do this, the INTERPOL enable them to share and access data on crimes and criminals, and offer a range of technical and operational support.
There are suggestions, especially by political opponents, that the money was given to the suspect by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State as he was accompanying him on a foreign trip.
However, a top government official, who did not want to be named, had told THISDAY that the state government was aware of the questioning of Osemwingie-Ero by INTEPOL for “an offence committed before he was appointed by Governor Obaseki.”
On the sum of US$2 million found on the embattled commissioner, the source said it was yet to be confirmed whether any money was found on him.
However, the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, said the state government could not confirm the alleged arrest of the Commissioner.
However, a senior EFCC’s operative confirmed the arrest of the commissioner to THISDAY.
“The Edo State Commissioner, Osemwingie-Ero is on our watch-list, based on his arrest by INTERPOL. He is currently being interrogated by INTERPOL. And we expect them to hand over the commissioner to us for more investigation, once they are done with him’’, the anti-graft agency’s source stated.