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Controversy as Rivers Govt, National Intelligence Agency Fight over Money EFCC Discovered in Ikoyi Apartment

BellaNaija.com

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Part of the Recovered funds

The controversy surrounding the discovery of huge sums of dollars by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken a dramatic turn as the Rivers State government and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) have both claimed ownership of the money.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike was quoted to have said that the money found in an Ikoyi apartment in Lagos belongs to his state.

This came after former PDP Acting Chairman Uche Secondus alleged that the money belongs to the Rivers State government.

Secondus spoke in Port Harcourt on Thursday when over 7,500 members of the All Progressives Congress defected to the PDP in Rivers State.

“About $43 million (and other cash) was found in a house in Ikoyi. And I believe that the monies belong to Rivers State. We want (Ibrahim) Magu and EFCC to announce the owner of that money and if possible return the money to Rivers State,” PUNCH quoted Secondus as saying.

Wike said that the money was gotten from the sale of gas turbines by Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, who was the immediate past governor of the state.

Wike was quoted to have sad that the state is giving the federal government 7 days ultimatum to return the money.

“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.

That money was used to sponsor the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2015 general elections. From the date of sale of the gas turbines to May 29, 2015, the money depleted from $319million to $204,000. What was stashed at the Ikoyi residence was part of that fund.

We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers State Government. The Federal Government must return our money.

As I speak to you, the Federal Government is so embarrassed that this has happened. All the stories that the money belongs to the NIA are fake.

We are giving them seven days to return our money. Otherwise, we would take legal action to recover our money. $43million will help us complete several projects. We need that money for projects,” he said.

Wike also called for investigation into the ownership of the money, adding that a panel of inquiry should be set up and it should sit publicly.

He said that until the federal government stops disturbing the state, it will continue to be thrown into frustration.

Amaechi was reported to have denied having anything to do with the money or the building/apartment where it was found.

Sahara Reporters, in a report published Friday night said that the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke has claimed that the funds belonged to his agency.

Oke said this in a meeting which was attended by the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu; Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno.

An NIA source told PUNCH that before the EFCC stormed the Ikoyi property on Wednesday, Oke had told him that the apartment is NIA’s safe house. However, Magu was said to have gone ahead to use minimal force to break into the apartment and the fireproof cabinets where the monies were stashed.

“The money belongs to the NIA. It is for covert operations and security projects covering a period of years.The DG  has met with the President, he has explained everything to him. The President asked him to put everything into writing and he has done so.

The entire chain of events was a big misunderstanding. That place was an NIA safe house and you have to understand that the NIA carries out discreet investigation in conjunction with many agencies across the world.

On the day the EFCC men gathered around the house, the NIA reached out to Magu to explain to him that the money was the property of the Federal Government and the place was an NIA safe house. Unfortunately, the EFCC still went ahead to break down the doors,” the source was quoted as saying.

While no official statement has been released by the NIA, various reports have claimed that the money was released to the NIA during the previous administration for several “covert operations”.

The NIA is the agency charged with foreign intelligence operations.

According to Sahara Reporters, a source said that when Buhari was informed of the claims that the money belonged to the NIA, the president was “alarmed at such claim saying that he did not expect any Nigerian government agency to keep government funds in a private house, no matter the nature of its operations.”

Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s Media Adviser when contacted to comment on the issue said: “This is not a matter for the Presidency. It is a security issue and I will advise you to get across to the agencies mentioned.”

Buhari, it was gathered, told the NIA DG to apply for fresh funds from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their operations and the seized funds should remain in the CBN where the EFCC had deposited it following a temporary forfeiture order.

A Federal High Court in Lagos had ruled that the money be temporarily forfeited to the federal government and the owner(s) of the monies should appear before it before May 5 to say why it should not be permanently forfeited to FG.

As it stands, ownership of the money remains a mystery to Nigerians, and no official statement has been released by any agency of the federal government in that regard.

21 Comments

  1. Segi

    April 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

    That money must be forfeited to the federal government.

    • David

      April 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Sounds like a beautiful idea, if only the federal government wasn’t doomed.

  2. Apples

    April 15, 2017 at 9:56 am

    See all of them??????? awon oles!!! so we should give you people the money so you can steal it too??????????? i laff in pidgin english!

  3. Cally 08159199099

    April 15, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Please who has any fairly used laptop to give out should pls call me.. I’m desperately in need of one for project

  4. Beauty

    April 15, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Na wa oh! See drama in 9ja. So a whole NIA will keep money in a rented apartment and with all the intelligence they have at their disposal will not be aware that EFCC was going to break into their so called safe house. This govt is just a scam, fooling about 160M people in Nigeria. It’s about time……….. ?

  5. FasholasLover

    April 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I do not believe this NIA volte-face. Not now, not ever. The NIA is a security Agency, What biz wax does the agency hv for keeping money in a private residence? What happened to the TSA directive of 2015? You are engaged in (a) covert ops the Presidency is not aware of? Anyways, we do not hv a President. What we hv is a ragtag bunch. If the money belongs to someone in d PDP, by now we would hv known d owner. I will not be surprised if some Chibok girls are “rescued” in d next couple of days to distract Nigerians as usual.. APC is so in ur face idc what you think. EFCC be catching loot but no thieves. The military pls. come back. Present day Nigeria is not capable of running this bloated, useless, expensive democracy.

    • LemmeRant

      April 15, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      “The military pls. come back. Present day Nigeria is not capable of running this bloated, useless, expensive democracy.”

      Who do you think is running this democracy?

    • Iris

      April 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      That last comment is very disturbing. I don’t think you understand what you’re asking for. A military dictatorship in Nigeria is just like this, except when they screw up you can’t come on Bella Naija and ask for a change. You might get dead. In fact, Bella Naija articles on politics will probably cease to exist.

    • Idomagirl

      April 16, 2017 at 2:21 am

      Which military?
      The same ones that institutionalized corruption and destroyed our institutions?
      If you’re too young to remember life under military rule – under IBB, Abacha and co, ask your parents.
      Anyone who romanticizes military rule must have been a toddler when they were in power – or one of the few who benefited from them.

  6. Madam Jessy

    April 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

    This is really terrible and shameful. Mr President have seen it all from this set of useless government officials, nobody to trust. God will protect Mr President Buhari to fight this fight agaisnt corruption that have overwhelmed our government. See how fool they all have become….

  7. kkay

    April 15, 2017 at 10:33 am

    What a country! Nigeria is finished!!

  8. Nunulicious

    April 15, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I’m confused. Is this a joke? Is today April 1st? Is this April fool? Or are we Nigerians foolish?
    #dumbfounded.
    In the midst of so this, there’s no official report from any agency.

  9. Sense

    April 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Incompetent security agencies and media houses. Just 10k and information about the owner of the property will be provided from Alausa. And then the mysterious owner may be forced to disclose who owns the funds in his/her property. Yet speculations upon speculations. Clearly an APC individual is involved since EFCC and the other agencies do not want to use simple logic. Also Sahara Reporters instead of it to do proper investigative reporting, it would be doing internet investigations. It is looking for owner of property and is searching internet which leads it to ETCO website and it runs to publish that Mauzu owns property so that it ll be the first to publish. It doesn’t know it is losing its credibility. Mr. Sahara, if you wanted to buy the Ikoyi property, would you pay Mr. Mauzu based on internet search or conduct a proper due diligence at Alausa?

    • nene

      April 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm

      Sahara is being funded by Tinubu

  10. jinkelele

    April 15, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Really Wike?
    Gas turbines for 319 million dollars…..cMon turbines don’t cost that much. No way near that amount in dollars
    I get it that you hate Ameachi but that spurious claim

  11. nene

    April 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Can EFCC go and pick up Amaechi ASAP. Discovering money everyday, yet no one is getting arrested. Why did i have to be a citizen of such a terrible country! Lord!

    • Otuoke

      April 15, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      If i may ask pick him up under what conditions. Because your wicked wike just spewed out this rubbish. Ole olojukokoro,he wants to take his share. Why havent efcc arrested all the people that have been mentioned so far.

  12. Ides of March

    April 15, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Everyone claiming this money should go straight to jail! I’m just sick of the whole thing HA AHN!

  13. Lailatu

    April 15, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    The level of infighting/miscommunication in this administration is unprecedented. DSS writes an indicting report on Magu, EFCC raids NSA’s safe house etc. I bet this is just a tip of the iceberg. Buhari is certainly not in charge of his house this might either be because he lacks the capacity or he just doesn’t care.

  14. Ottawa Queen

    April 16, 2017 at 12:17 am

    See all of them!! Thieves….Wike is there claiming projects need to be done for the state. now you know you have projects!! If he knew about the missing money stolen by Amaechi all along, why didn’t he say so or make efforts to recover them? Now they all claiming they want the money. Meanwhile, the real looter is somewhere drinking his beer jejely and watching closely.

  15. Idomagirl

    April 16, 2017 at 2:23 am

    EFCC is so stupid and incompetent.
    They are more concerned with trials in the court of public opinion and sensational headlines than actually doing their jobs well.

    I’m inclined to believe Wike, I’ve been suspecting that the money belongs to someone in this government, that’s why the name didn’t come out immediately.

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