Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday stormed the Ikoyi, Lagos home of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
The operatives seized some vital documents, vehicles and other valuables.
Sources in the anti-graft agency told one of our correspondents that the raid was connected with several allegations of fraud levelled against Obanikoro and his two sons – Babajide and Gbolahan.
It was learnt that the operatives stormed the house, located at Layi Ajayi Bembe Street in Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, where they searched the entire premises.
The commission had said it traced N4.75bn to a company, Sylvan McNamara Limited, in which Obanikoro’s sons allegedly have interest.
The money was allegedly paid in several tranches into the company’s account number 0026223714 with Diamond Bank from the Office of the National Security Adviser account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to the EFCC, all the transfers were made between June and December 2014, a period that coincided with the preparation for and the conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election, which was won by Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Giving a breakdown of how the money was paid, an EFCC source said N200m was transferred into Sylvan McNamara’s account on June 5, 2014, while N2bn was also wired into the account from the CBN/ Imprest main account on June 16, 2014.
Another transfer of N700m hit the account on July 7, 2014, while N1bn was credited to the account on July 30, 2014.
Other transfers included N160m on August 8, 2014; N225m on August 22, 2014; N200m on November 14, 2014 and N200m on December 5, 2014.
Both Gbolahan and Babajide Obanikoro, sources disclosed, as directors of the company, were also signatories to its account until 2014 when one Olalekan Ogunseye was made the sole signatory to the account.
EFCC sources disclosed that the payments to the company from the office of the NSA, Sambo Dasuki, were made without any contract.
A detective at the EFCC said, “It is true that we searched the house of Obanikoro. It was part of investigations into the N4.7bn paid into his sons’ account.”
The EFCC has since March been making attempts to extradite Obanikoro and his sons who have been in the United States since last year.
However, the media aide to the ex-minister, Mr. Jonathan Eze, alleged that the officials of the EFCC harassed innocent kids, daughters-in-law and other extended family members in the house.
He added that they took away cars, wristwatches and other valuables from the house during the raid.
Eze, in a statement on Tuesday, said, ‘‘This is against the fact that the anti- graft agency has never invited the ex-minister or any of his sons for questioning beyond the tirade and allegations its operatives have been propagating in the media space.”
He further said the vehicles driven away were cars and trucks bought since 2006 when Obanikoro served as an ambassador.
Also the EFCC has frozen a bank account allegedly belonging to a wanted ex-militant, Government Ekemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo.
It was learnt on Tuesday that the anti-graft agency found N3bn in the account and had frozen it pending the outcome of court processes.
An operative of the anti-graft agency, who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity, said, “During investigations into the fraud at NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency), we traced about N3bn to a bank account, which is owned by Tompolo.
“The account has since been frozen in accordance with Section 34 (1) of the EFCC Act 2004 which empowers the commission to freeze any account suspected of being used for financial crimes.”
The source explained that the section stipulates that the chairman of the commission or any officer authorised by him might, if satisfied that the money in the account of a person was made through the commission of an offence under the Act or any enactment specified under Section 6(2) (a)-(f) of the Act, apply for the court exparte for power to issue or instruct a bank examiner or such other appropriate authority to freeze the account.
Tompolo, who has been on the run since February, was arraigned in absentia alongside a former Director-General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi, and the latter’s six brothers on April 18, 2016, for an alleged N47.7bn fraud.
The anti-graft agency had arraigned the suspects before a Federal High Court in Lagos on 22 counts bordering on fraud, conversion of money and forgery.
The EFCC, in charge number FHC/L/C/31c/2016, alleged that the accused persons had sometime in 2014, within the jurisdiction of the court, with an intent to defraud, conspired among themselves and obtained the total sum of N47,683,464,822 from the Federal Government.
The accused persons were also alleged to have, between May 6, 2014, and December 2, 2014, forged and uttered a Certificate of Customary Rights of Occupancy of the old Bendel State of Nigeria, and purportedly issued same to NIMASA, claiming that it was issued by the Warri South Local Government Area, Delta State, to the prejudice of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
They were also alleged to have received sum of N11,900,000,000 from the Federal Government, by falsely pretending that all the land and its appurtenances lying and situated at Mieka Diva Training Institute, Kurutie, Warri South LGA, Delta State, be acquired by the NIMASA, for the temporary campus of Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Warri South.