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Seized N13b Probe: NIA Finance Officials To Appear Before Osinbajo Panel Today

Oke is under probe for the NIA’s role in the seized $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke, and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, has dispatched letters of invitation to some NIA officials demanding they appear before it on Monday (today).

The invited persons were also asked to come with some relevant documents, which would be submitted to the panel.

Oke is under probe for the NIA’s role in the seized $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Lawal, on his part, was suspended in connection with a contract scandal in the Internally Displaced Persons camp in the North-East as alleged by a Senate ad hoc committee.

Oke and Lawal were suspended by Buhari on Wednesday last week.

A probe panel, headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, was constituted to investigate allegations against the top government officials.

The committee also has the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Moguno, as members.

Part of the tasks of the committee is to investigate why the NIA kept $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in the Ikoyi house.

The money was seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission based on a tip-off from a whistle-blower.

The PUNCH had reported on Friday that the suspended NIA DG had informed Osinbajo and the NSA that the money, which was originally, $289,202,382, emanated from the National Petroleum Investment Management Service on February 25, 2015, based on the instruction of the then President, Goodluck Jonathan.

The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that some of the invited officials from the NIA were aides to the suspended NIA DG.

A source in the Presidency stated, “We have invited some officials of the NIA to come and explain to us why such a huge amount of money should be kept outside a financial institution.

“Some of those invited are from the finance department. The panel hopes to understand the workings of the NIA and how it spends cash relating to projects and security matters.

“The invited persons will also explain what the money was spent on and what sort of security projects the NIA had done which required such a sum of money.”

The source, however, added that the suspended NIA DG had not been officially invited by the probe panel.

Meanwhile, the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has submitted his report on the seized N13bn to the Osinbajo committee.

Magu has since appeared before the three-man committee to testify on the matter.

A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents on Sunday that Magu said he had all reasons to believe that the N13bn ($43.4m, N23m and £27,000) was warehoused for suspicious reasons.

He said, “It is true that Magu has appeared before the committee but it will be wrong to say that he was quizzed. That word sounded as if he is also being investigated.

“The truth is that if not for the EFCC boss, that money was meant to be shared by some people.’’

It was learnt that the committee might confront Oke with the EFCC chairman’s allegations when he appears before it.

The PUNCH also gathered that the panel might also arrange for the two of them to meet face to face on some of the claims if the need arises.