Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have invited all the top management staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Abuja for questioning. The operatives are investigating the managers' complicity in a N70 million fraud recently discovered at the agency.
As part of the investigation, the anti-graft agency on Monday collected the top management staff’s Bank Verification Numbers (BVN). A source at the EFCC said the move was to ensure a thorough investigation into the fraud.
SaharaReporters learnt that Christy Olabode, the major suspect in the N70 million fraud, was still being held by the EFCC. A source at the EFCC said Ms. Olabode has remained in detention since Monday when she reported at the agency’s headquarters.
A source close to FAAN told our correspondent today that the younger brother to Ms. Olabode, Abdul-Shehu Obaze, a staff at the Commercial Department of FAAN in Ilorin, Kwara State, had confessed that he and his sister were not the only ones involved in the manipulation of furniture allowances between 2013 and 2016.
According to the FAAN source, Mr. Obaze allegedly confessed that he had been funneling the sum of N2.5 million monthly to one of the top management staff in the agency in the past one year. He reportedly said the payoff came from the N70 million scam.
SaharaReporters learned that some of the directors whose BVNs details were collected included the Director of Administration, Ikechi Uko, Director of Operations, Captain Henry Omeogu, Director of Human Resources, Hajia Salamatu Umar-Eluma, and Director of Maintenance and Engineering, Olufemi Ogunode.
Also invited to Abuja by EFCC was one Mr. Njoku, the Head of Audit at FAAN.
Our source said that the anti-grant agency collected the BVNs of the directors in order to determine whether there had been any financial transactions between the top management staff and the suspects.
"If the EFCC continues with its investigation into the matter, there is no way heads will not roll here in FAAN because several top management are involved in this," an aviation sector source told our correspondent. He added: "I can tell you that this investigation, if not bungled, will unearth several other hidden shady deals in FAAN.
"There are some top staff who are so afraid that they will go underground to thwart the ongoing investigations.
An EFCC source confided that Ms. Olabode had provided anti-graft investigators with some useful information. The source said the woman may not be released until she has provided more useful information to facilitate a thorough investigation into a number of frauds at the aviation agency.
The EFCC had invited Ms. Olabode, a Grade Level 6 officer at FAAN, to Abuja on Monday for further interrogation after it was discovered that she and others had apparently connived to manipulate furniture allowances at FAAN between 2013 and 2016.
Before her suspension by FAAN’s management a few weeks ago, Ms. Olabode was employed in the computer room of the accounts department at FAAN.
She is alleged to have diverted at least $70 million by inserting names of non-FAAN staff into the agency's payroll.