Thursday, 20 June 2013
Speaker Bankole Arrested
Officials of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have finally arrested outgoing Speaker Dimeji Bankole of the House of Representatives.
An EFCC source told Saharareporters moments ago that the agency operatives moved in today to arrest Mr. Bankole after the agency received intelligence that he was planning to flee tonight.
For the past one week, the EFCC and Bankole have been engaged in a tense stand off arising from Mr. Bankole's refusal to answer the agency's summons for interrogation over a series of corruption allegations.
Saharareporters exclusively broke the news that the EFCC investigators had linked Mr Speaker to an account at the United Bank of Africa (UBA) through which the outgoing speaker had laundered about $1 billion.
A source at the EFCC told SaharaReporters that the agency was able to arrest the speaker today as soon as it discovered he had planned to escape from Nigeria early tomorrow morning.
Last Friday EFCC agents had made an attempt to arrest the speaker from his residence but that had been rebuffed by Mr. Bankole's security protection.
The EFCC had appealed to IG of Police, Hafiz Ringim to withdraw Bankole's police security to facilitate the outgoing speaker's arrest. Instead, Mr. Ringim arrived at the scene to break the siege, stating that President Goodluck Jonathan had ordered that the EFCC should retreat from arresting Bankole.
A police source said Mr. Ringim came under fire following our report of his role. He later lied that he only paid the speaker a social visit at his residence, unaware of plans by the EFCC to arrest him.
In response to criticism, the IG of police then ordered the withdrawal of Bankole's police protection.
A source within the presidency said Jonathan, who is due to be received this Wednesday at the White House, did not want the baggage of appearing to American officials to be continuing the tradition of protecting Nigeria's major corrupt officials.
The source said that Jonathan then instructed the IG of police and the DG of the State Security Service to immediately withdraw Bankole's security detail.
A source at the EFCC told us the the EFCC was able to arrest him shortly after he lost his police guards.
In addition to the huge financial scam at the UBA, the former speaker is also implicated in a car buying scandal.