Whistle-Blowers Guide To The $43.6 million EFCC Drama (Updated May 6th, 2017)
Nairametrics| A whistle blower is defined as someone who raises concerns about a wrongdoing they know about in their workplace, another organization or somewhere else. Whistle blowing has been in practice since the 7th century when the Qui Tam Act in England provided for private citizens to expose any wrongdoing, in exchange for a reward.
The Buhari administration, upon inception, proclaimed that it would spare no effort in ensuring that corruption is eliminated and past offenders be brought to book. In a bid to support its anti-corruption drive, the Federal Government (FG) adopted the whistle blowing policy in December 2016, which allowed for protected disclosure of known corrupt acts. The policy, which explains how whistleblowing will work in the country, also promises a reward of between 2.5% and 5% of the total loot.
Since the announcement, the rate of discoveries of stashed monies has spiked, and it has now become almost a daily occurrence. In addition, the sums keep getting larger and larger. The latest discovery is that of about $43.6 million or N13 billion found in Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), whose Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been denied confirmation as Chairman twice by the Nigerian Senate.
The sum was found in 3 different currencies- $38 million, N23 million, and £27,000 on April 11th 2017. Since then, a lot of drama has taken place, with accusations and counter-accusations flying all over.
As usual, Nairametrics brings you all the key actions in one spot. Follow this post for updates as they happen.
April 11, 2017
- EFCC raids Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos during a sting operation and discover $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000.
April 12 2017
- Initial rumors name Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, an ex-NNPC Managing Director, who was sacked the previous day over another 130 million liters missing petrol case, as the owner of the confiscated loot.
- Sahara Reporters reveal that former Chairman of National People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu owns the building where the money was found.
- Muazu denies, despite Etco Nigeria Limited, a construction firm partly owned by an Israeli company, Electral Limited, naming him as owner of the building on their website. “Mr Muazu does not own any house in Ikoyi except his house at Walter Carrington street, Victoria Island Lagos,” Akin Oyegoke, Media and ICT Personal Assistant to Mr. Mu’azu said.
- Rumors also start to circulate that ex-Rivers State Governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, owns the flat and the money found in it. Lere Olayinka, an aide to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State went on social media to write, ”Cover up game has started! Rotimi Amaechi owns the house. Mo Abudu lives in Flat 7A, money found in Flat 7B. I still dey come.” Vanguard published.
- Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Adoke SAN issued a statement accusing the EFCC of raiding his home without a warrant. People initially think he is referring to the Ikoyi apartment. However, in his statement, he claimed the EFCC found nothing in his home after the search, thereby quenching possible links to the Osborne building apartment.
- Rumors also begin to circulate that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) owns the money. NIA does not speak.
April 13, 2017
- Through a statement from her lawyer, Nnmadi-Ogbue denies ownership of the money. “By this Press Release, we inform the public (especially the News Media) that the said sums of money and/or the apartment where the sums of money were found do not belong to [Esther Nnmadi-Ogbue].” Daily Trust reported. She owns another flat in the said building.
- ThisDay then reports that Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government. He also granted the EFCC’s prayer to advertise or publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper.
- Muazu finally admits to Sahara Reporters that he actually owns 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi. According to Sahara Reporters, Muazu said he built and let out the apartments, but some were still vacant. He denies ownership of the money.
- ThisDay reports that NIA security operatives had earlier informed Magu that the money found was in their custody and kept there with the permission of required authorities. But instead of admitting his blunder, Magu went on to “make a great show of the discovery of another cash haul.”
- Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on his Twitter handle, alleges that Amaechi owns the money. Vanguard shows snapshots of Fani-Kayode’s Twitter post.He went further to claim that the statement by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that the said money belongs to them is fake.
- Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, in a press conference with journalists at night, says Rivers State owns the money. He claimed that Amaechi laundered the money, which was part of a $319 million payment by Sahara Energy for the sale of gas turbines when Ameachi was the State Governor. “The money in question belongs to the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We want to confirm that the houses in Ikoyi also belong to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. If you recollect in 2015, we said that gas turbines built by Former Governor Peter Odili were sold to Sahara Energy, business partners of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at $319million.” Daily Trust reports.
- Governor Wike then issues a 7-day ultimatum to the FG to return the money to Rivers State otherwise face legal action.
April 15, 2017
- Mo Abudu, comes out to deny living in the flat or owning the money. Her lawyers claim she does not own any flat in Lagos State. Through her lawyers, she also denied receiving the apartment as a gift from Amaechi. The statement goes on to threaten legal action against anyone falsely accusing her.
- Amaechi dares Wike to go to court if he has any shred of evidence linking the found money to the proceeds from the gas turbine sale.
April 16, 2017
- Vanguard reports that the NIA has begun moves to officially reclaim the money. According to the report, both President Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Magu know about the money, with the latter having a one-hour conversation with the Director-General of NIA, during which Magu was asked to suspend the invasion, but which he chose to ignore.
- Wike insists that the money should be returned to Rivers State government, asking Christians to pray for the return. He however refutes claims that he would wage war with the FG if the money is not returned
- Amaechi gives 7-day ultimatum to Olayinka and Fani-Kayode for them to retract their posts, publish apologies in at least 5 dailies and pay him N500 million and N750 million respectively.
- Fani-Kayode replies saying he ‘is not losing any sleep over Amaechi’s threat’
- According to Daily Post, the EFCC has invited a former governor and several other owners and tenants of apartments in the building in relation to how the money was moved in.
- The CBN denies knowing who owns the money. Daily Post says Okarafor, spokesman of the apex bank, claimed that CBN issues serial currencies to banks, who were then free to give such currencies to their clients.
April 24, 2017
- The suspended Ayodele Oke appears before Osinbajo’s committee to answer questions regarding the allegations along with other finance officials and Oke’s aides, Sun News reports
April 29, 2017
- CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also appears before the committee to answer questions regarding how such huge sums were released and why the CBN earlier denied releasing the funds to the NIA.
May 5, 2017
- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, produces evidence to show that wife of suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Folashade Okebought the flat in Ikoyi through her company, Choba Ventures, from Fine & Country, a real estate firm.
- EFCC prays the Court to grant a permanent forfeiture of the money to the FG. Court reserves ruling until June 6.