The National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Mohammed Monguno (rtd), has begun an investigation into the recovery of about N15 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This is as President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to submit a report on the recovery.
The EFCC had, last week Wednesday, recovered $43.4 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million totalling about N15 billion from a private apartment at the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos.
New Telegraph was informed yesterday by competent sources at the presidency that the NSA is to conduct investigation into the EFCC operations, the recovery and claims by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that the money belongs to it.
The NIA is laying claims to the money, which it said was approved for covert operations by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, before the 2015 general elections.
Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, also claimed that the money belongs to the state, and gave the Fed-eral Government sevenday ultimatum to return the money to River State coffers.
“I can tell you that the NSA, being the coordinator of all the security agencies, is probing the entire transactions and the recovery. I’m aware that the NSA has requested for vital documents from the NIA about the covert operations and the release of funds – when the payment was made and the actual amount. The NSA has also been briefed about the EFCC operations.
“The whole essence of Monguno’s probe is to establish the actual owners of the funds and if the release of the money followed due process. The NSA probe is against the backdrop of the claims and counter claims of ownership of the humongous amount. The investigation will also establish if there was security breach in the operations,” the presidential source stated.
The NSA, according to source, is expected to submit his report to the president this week. Impeccable sources also revealed to New Telegraph how the NIA acquired the Apartment 7B at Osborne Towers for over N120 million.
The source said the name of a firm belonging to the wife of a government official was used to buy the apartment “meant for covert operations of the NIA.”“It is true that the apartment was owned by NIA. The apartment was bought from the owner of Osborne Towers using the firm of a wife of a senior government official. After the purchase, the documents were ‘corrected’ and ownership transferred to NIA.
That is a normal process in the security operations,” a source familiar with the matter told our correspondent last night. Also, it was learnt that the president’s directive to the AGF, followed briefings from the leadership of the EFCC and those of the NIA on the recovery. A top presidential aide told New Telegraph that the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and the Director-General of the NIA, Ambassador Ayodele Oke, had separately briefed the president on the controversial money.
“The president has been briefed on the developments. The EFCC chairman briefed him on the recoveries, while the NIA also tried to prove that the money belonged to it.
The president has directed them to submit a written report to the AGF. He is also expecting the AGF to make recommendations on what to do next.” It was further gathered that Buhari, up till the time of the discovery, did not know about the existence of the money with the NIA. “Obviously, until these developments, the president was in the dark about the money.
He did not know about it and the operations the money is meant for,” said the source. EFCC had, in a statement, said the “operation followed a whistle blower’s confidential alert received by the Commission’s Lagos office this morning regarding some noticed suspicious movement of bags in and out of a particular apartment in the building. According to the source, the movers of the bags made believe that they were bringing in bags of clothes.” The agency said that monies were found in two of the four-bedroom apartment.
“A further probe of the wardrobe by operatives in one of the rooms was found to be warehousing three fireproof cabinets disguisedly hidden behind wooden panels of the wardrobe.
Upon assessing the content of the cabinets, neatly arranged were US dollars, British pound sterling, and some naira notes in sealed wrappers,” it said. But since then, there have been claims and counter-claims on the ownership of the money, with the Rivers State Government and the NIA laying claims to the money.