Christy Olabode, a mid-level staff and prime suspect in a N70 million scam at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), is scheduled to appear at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja on Monday.
A source at the anti-corruption agency today told our correspondent over the phone that Ms. Olabode would be interrogated and perhaps detained when she shows up next week. The source said EFCC investigators have unearthed more cases of financial fraud at FAAN linked to Ms.Olabode.
The source said investigations by EFCC agents revealed that Ms. Olabode, a Grade Level 6 officer accused of manipulating furniture allowances between 2013 and 2016,built an imposing duplex home in Lagos and also owns a highbrow boutique in Lagos State.
A source at FAAN today told our correspondent that Ms. Olabode, who was employed in the computer room of FAAN’s accounts department before the agency’s management suspended her on Monday, had threatened to name other profiteers from scams at the agency and to expose who conspired with her if the EFCC pushed her too hard.
“She told her close friends, ‘Heads will roll if I open my mouth to talk to EFCC on this issue. Everyone knows that I couldn’t have done all these without the input of some management in FAAN. I only fronted for some people, and since this issue came out recently, some of them have deserted me,’” the source quoted Ms. Olabode as saying.According to the source, Ms. Olabode mentioned one Mr. Ojo, a senior officer in the same department, as one of her facilitators.
Six months ago, Mr. Ojo was arrested and detained for three days at Panti Police Station in relation to a foreign currency investigation at the agency. The source at the agency said FAAN’s director of administration, Ms. Elima Salamotu, arranged for Mr. Ojo’s release from police detention.
From Monday to Wednesday, EFCC operatives laid siege on the FAAN headquarters and carted away documents a source described as relevant to the ongoing investigation. The documents included payroll data.
Apart from Ms. Olabode, who was arrested immediately, the EFCC later arrested three other suspects, including two of Ms. Olabode’s colleagues in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) department and the main suspect’s brother, who is also a staff of FAAN.
On Tuesday, FAAN’s General Manager of Corporate Communications, Yakubu Dati, confirmed to SaharaReporters that the aviation agency was mired in an investigation over the diversion of funds. He also confirmed that the main suspect had been arrested.
Mr. Dati also revealed that FAAN’s management hadsuspended the main suspect along with two other staffmembers pending the conclusion of investigations into the fraud.
Mr. Dati said that the management had set up a committeethat investigated the major suspect, adding that Ms. Olabode then named others involved in the fraud, including her brother, and they were also swiftly suspended.
Mr. Dati said FAAN’s management would set up an audit team to further investigate financial transactions in the accounts department over several years. He said the audit would investigate the activities of the personnel in the accounts and commercial departments, propose measures toclose all loopholes that permit stealing, and ensure that all revenues are captured and accounted for.
According to him, FAAN’s audit “would further modernize its accounting system, explore new ways to boost revenues and also to continuously monitor activities of its personnel involved in revenue generation and accounting.”