Osinbajo’s committee may recommend extension of probe to other affiliated agencies


April 25, 2017 | 5:20 pm
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…Grills SGF for three hours
The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led committee charged with the investigation of suspended Director-General of National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke, may extend its probe to security agencies, amongst others.

The probe which is currently ongoing has been linked to other institutions whether private or public even as BusinessDay gathered that so far there are claims that other security agencies received the said monies.

A government official who spoke to BusinessDay off record so as not to preempt the moves of the committee, said since the committee only has 14 days to summit their report, they may recommend the move to check the books of the other security agencies.

“Since the money is said to be part of a larger fund, the committee may recommend to the President an extension of the probe to look at those other agencies who got part of the money” the official said adding that though the 14 days will not be enough for the committee to look at the extended sides of the probe they will not on their own extend the tenure.

It is not clear if the committee will have any need to speak with Oke’s wife who was purportedly the one managing the apartment where the money was found. It is also not clear if the committee may quiz the Central Bank authorities given that such amount of money, especially in foreign currency cannot go out without their knowledge.

“Again the truth is that even if he released the money, he was acting on orders. The probably could not have said no after the approval was made”.

Part of the tasks of the Osinbajo led committee is to investigate why the NIA, Nigeria’s Foreign Security agency kept $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in a house in Ikoyi. The money was seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, following a tip-off from a whistle-blower.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman Femi Adesina, last week stated that the investigation is also to enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds, how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA, and to establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

The committee which also has the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Moguno, as members has already invited the Julius Berger Construction Company, alongside the Acting Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Arab Yadam, and five other directors to state what they know about the recovered loot. Oke has also been grilled by the committee.

On claims that the National Security Adviser Babagana Mongunu denied knowledge of the money, the official who spoke to BusinessDay clarified that the NSA did not actually deny knowledge of the money. According to him, “the memo written by the NIA DG to the NSA did not fully disclose the amount of the money in question and that in itself
is a problem”.

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu was the first to appear before the committee to give full details of the agency’s findings at the first meeting last Friday.

The committee which is also saddled with the responsibility to investigate the allegations of violations of law and due process made against the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal, in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE), on Tuesday grilled the embattled SGF for about three hours.

An Interim Report of the Senate’s Ad-Hoc Committee on Mounting Humanitarian Crisis in the NorthEast, had indicted the SGF of sharp practices in expending the funds meant for alleviating the sufferings of the displaced in North East as well as other sharp practices. According to the report, Lawal allegedly owns one of the companies awarded contracts in the rehabilitation of the North-East.

The most senior officer in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Habibat Lawn, has since taken over as Acting SGF.

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April 25, 2017 | 5:20 pm
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