The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has finally dismissed the Christy Olabode, the Grade Level 6 officer, indicted for diverting N70 million in furniture allowance within three years.
SaharaReporters learned that Ms. Olabode, who misappropriated the funds between 2013 and 2016, was issued her dismissal letter the last week of December 2016. A committee set up by FAAN’s Managing Director, Saleh Dunoma, had recommended her dismissal.
Our correspondent learned that the committee found Ms. Olabode guilty of the allegation, but also observed that she carried out the fraud in collaboration with some senior management staff of the agency. Two sources within the agency disclosed that Ms. Olabode’s dismissal was carried out in secrecy in order not to publicly reveal the role played by implicated management staff in her fraudulent act.
Our correspondent reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was duly informed of Ms. Olabode’s dismissal.
However, our sources revealed that, despite Ms. Olabode’s dismissal, FAAN and EFCC failed to recover all property and assets linked to her during an investigation. Ms. Olabode still lives in the agency’s staff quarters with her husband, who is also a staff of FAAN.
Some of the dismissed woman’s assets discovered by the investigative committee included duplex homes in Lagos and her hometown of Ilorin. She also runs a highbrow boutique in Lagos State.
Our sources said that Ms. Olabode had threatened to expose other frauds within FAAN as well as the identities of those who helped her fraudulent activities if the EFCC pushed too hard against her.
FAAN’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) Department detected Ms. Olabode’s fraudulent dealings.
Our FAAN source revealed that the investigation committee did not recommend that Ms. Olabode should refund the sums she illicitly acquired. “It is true that Mrs. Olabode has been dismissed from the system after her initial suspension by the management. But, curiously, all the properties discovered with her during the investigation are still intact,” said the source. He added, “As I am talking to you right now, she still resides in the staff quarters of FAAN with her husband. Personally, I will say nothing has changed, and I believe she might still be brought back into the system one way or another in the future.”
Our correspondent could not reach FAAN’s acting General Manager for Corporate Communications, Henrietta Yakubu, to comment on the development. Ms. Yakubu’s phone number was switched off.
One O. Oduwole was the first Chair of FAAN’s investigative committee, but Mr. Dunoma removed him ostensibly because the management was afraid that he would not consent to compromise in his report. Our FAAN source claimed that the agency’s top management figures were afraid of Mr. Oduwole’s reputation for principled honesty. Mr. Oduwole, a medical doctor, is currently in the Medical Department at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos.
Mr. Sanni, the General Manager in charge of FAAN’s Human Resources, replaced Mr. Oduwole as chair of the investigative committee. Sanni was described as a stooge of the management.
Our sources disclosed that the committee submitted its reports to FAAN in September 2016.
As part of its own investigation, the EFCC had sought the Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of some of the agency’s top shots. Our sources named Abdul-Shehu Obaze, a staff at the Commercial Department of FAAN in Ilorin, as Ms. Olabode’s main collaborator. He is Ms. Olabode’s younger brother. Our sources said Mr. Obaze confessed that he had been raising and funneling the sum of N2.5 million monthly to one of FAAN’s top managers in the past one year. The funds reportedly came from the N70 million misappropriated by his sister.
Some of the directors whose BVNs details were collected by the EFCC included the Director of Administration, Ikechi Uko, Director of Operations, Henry Omeogu, Director of Human Resources, Salamatu Umar-Eluma, and Director of Maintenance and Engineering, Olufemi Ogunode. The head of FAAN’s audit department, Mr. Njoku, was also questioned by the EFCC.