Controversy continues to surround ownership of $43.4m found in an apartment on Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.
While news reports have linked the now seized cash to many people, the Nigerian Intelligence Agency quickly claimed ownership of the cash, a move which surprised many and raised even more questions. Though President Buhari has taken swift action that the cash be seized and the NIA and the EFCC submit their reports, it would seem that the EFCC does not believe the claim made by the NIA Director and is determined to cover all grounds.
News monitored on-line, indicate that the EFCC seems to have rejected the ownership claim by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of the $43.4million found in a luxury Ikoyi apartment as its detectives have invited a former governor and some high-profile owners of apartments in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos for questioning over how $43.4m (N13billion) taxpayers’ money found its way into the flat.
This apart, the EFCC has identified how the controversial apartment 7B, where the $43.4m was kept, was acquired. Also recovered were £27,000 and N23m cash, the Nation reports.
According to the report the EFCC has upped its investigation into the roles played by some apartment owners and tenants on how the cash ended up in the Towers.
The anti-graft commission is said to be suspecting that some owners or tenants may have been complicit in the matter.
A source told the Nation: “The more we investigate this $43.4m haul, the more we get fresh facts. It has become imperative to interact with some owners or tenants of apartments in the Towers.
“We have invited a former governor and other high-profile owners and tenants for interaction. It is just to ask a few questions on whether or not they were aware of such movement of cash.
“We have clues linking some occupants of the Towers to the cash haul. And in line with sections 16 and 17 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004, we are inviting these landlords or tenants.
“Unless we get to the root of this case, Nigerians may not know the truth or otherwise about the cash.
“We are not saying that those invited are guilty of any infraction or having link with the $43.4million but we need to hear from them – in line with the ongoing profiling of those in the Towers.”
Also ndications emerged on Sunday that the EFCC has been able to trace how the controversial 7B apartment, where the $43.4m was kept, was acquired.
Another source informed the newspaper that detectives discovered that the 7B Apartment was bought in the name of a company allegedly owned by the wife of a senior government official.
“Since investigation is still ongoing, we will not release the identity of the owner of the company. Doing so might jeopardise investigation,” the source said, adding that the EFCC had interacted with “some people from the company.”
However, a National Intelligence Agency (NIA) source said: “What happened was that because of the nature of the covert operations which the apartment will be used for, it was necessary to manage the process well.
“Only the Deed of Assignment was acquired by Thabis Ventures Limited on behalf of NIA.
“And immediately the process for the purchase of the apartment was completed, the ownership was clearly stated in the name of NIA. All the papers are reflecting NIA too, he said, adding: “The title document is available for anyone to verify.”