Recent findings reveal that the huge amount of money discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Lagos state, may be part of the $289,202,382 which the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, reportedly withdrew in cash from the account of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS, in February 2015.
This is according to a report by online newspaper, The Cable, on Thursday.
The newspaper reports that the funds were approved for NIA’s ‘covert operations’ by President Goodluck Jonathan and subsequently withdrawn in cash from NAPIMS account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
NAPIMS is a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which is saddled with managing the investments of the national oil company.
The Cable recalled that it was from the NNPC’s account that the office of the national security adviser, under Sambo Dasuki, a retired army colonel, withdrew the $2.1 billion that was meant for procurement of arms for the armed forces to boost the anti-terrorism operations in the North East.
Dasuki is currently undergoing trial for allegedly misappropriating the funds.
Thursday’s report by The Cable also has it that the Department of State Services, DSS, got huge cash in naira and dollars for “covert operations” towards the 2015 general elections.
The entire NIA budget for 2015 was just above N25 billion which was about $160 million at the time, suggesting that the $289,202,382 it got from the account of NAPIMS was not provided for in that year’s budget.
Recall that insiders in the presidency had told journalists that President Muhammadu Buhari was never briefed about any ongoing covert operation being undertaken by the NIA.
The NIA DG, Oke, was on Thursday suspended by the President, while a three-man investigative panel, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has been set-up to look into the case.
Oke was suspended alongside the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, who had been indicted by the Senate for abuse of office in relation to award of contracts by the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE.
Reports by online newspaper Premium Times say the Osinbajo-headed investigative panel is set to invite former President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to testify before it.
Other individuals that could appear before the panel include the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, the NIA DG, Ayodele Oke and his predecessor, Olaniyi Oladeji, as well as the owner of the Osborne Towers building in Ikoyi Lagos, where the money were discovered by the EFCC.
Former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Adamu Muazu, was named as the owner of the building, but he has since issued a statement claiming that he had sold the property in order to offset a bank loan.