A total of N67.2 billion was released to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, at the directive of the National Security Adviser, NSA, under Sambo Dasuki, Premium Times has reported.
According to the report, the funds were disbursed in two cash withdrawals between November 2014 and February, 2015 and were ferried in bullion vans to unknown destinations.
Dasuki claimed the funds were for “special services” which he mandated the NIA to undertake.
The two withdrawals were done as follows: $47 million in the first tranche and $289,202,382, in the second. These amounted to N67.2 billion going by the then foreign exchange rate.
Friday’s report by Premium Times was a recall of a previous report published by the online newspaper on September 19, 2015, exposing how the suspicious payments were made.
The first of the withdrawals was made through a memo originating from the office of former NSA, Dasuki, with reference number NSA/366/S, the online newspaper reports.
The memo entitled “Request for Funds for Special Services,” and addressed to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, read in part: “Further to our discussion, you are pleased requested to provide the sum of forty seven million United States Dollars (USD47, 000,000.00) cash out of the Ten Billion Naira (N10, 000,000,000.00) and the balance in Euro to this office for special services.
“Mr. S. A. Salisu, director finance and administration is, hereby authorised to sign and collect the amount. Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem.”
The second withdrawal, according to Premium Times, was based on a memo generated by NAPIMS and dated February 25, 2015.
The memo instructed the CBN’s director of banking and payment system “to urgently pay in cash the sum of $289,202,382 (N57.2 billion) to the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.”
“Upon receipt of this mandate, please pay urgently the under-listed beneficiary the cash amount indicated. Please debit CBN/JVCC Foreign Account No. 000000011658360 with the JP Morgan Chase, New York… and advise as soon as the payment is made,” it read.
The payment instruction was signed by one Okonkwo Godwin, the General Manager, Finance, NAPIMS, with staff No. 18526.
Recall that the EFCC discovered $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000, from apartment 7B of the Osborne Towers, a luxurious residential building located in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.
The commission said the operation was based on information by a whistleblower.
Reports suggest that the money could be part of funds released to the NIA by the CBN in late 2014 and early 2015. It is believed that the payments were extra budgetary and was probably meant to be used for the 2015 general election.
The NIA Director-General, Ayodele Oke, has since been suspended following the discovery, while an investigative panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is currently investigating the matter.
The panel also has the current NSA, Babagana Monguno, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as members.