*Interest paid on fixed deposit in Enterprise Bank undeclared
*US, UK, France, monitoring development
By Malachy Uzendu
Sleaze in the management of recoveries from the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Tafa Balogun, came to the fore at the on-going probe of the activities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under the suspended acting Chairman, CP Ibrahim Magu.
Competent sources told The AUTHORITY that the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel’s attention was drawn to the over N2 billion and $1 million said to be accrued interests on Fixed Deposit from recoveries from five companies owned by the former IGP, is missing.
It was gathered that the probe panel was told that the suspended EFCC boss, who was the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) for Balogun, failed to disclose the interests yielded from the Fixed Deposit as well as the fact that the money was at the Enterprise Bank.
Also, the name of the deposit beneficiary was changed from the original companies to an acronym formulated by Magu and his team at the EFCC to shield prying eyes from linking the said money with the confiscated companies.
According to our investigations, on 30th December, 2005, Enterprise Bank Plc made several transfers from such accounts, holding back federal government funds to such accounts which were simply changed to FD-YEBOA, FD-RENOVA and FD-CALD.
These bank accounts belong to seized Balogun’s companies originally named Awaro Investment Nig Ltd, Caledonia Telecommunications, Olatrade Nig Ltd, Renovation Constructions Ltd and Yeboa Nig Ltd, which operated Treasury Bills at the bank at 14% interest per annum.
The money accrued to the companies forfeited to the federal government on the order of Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court, after delivering judgment on a criminal suit filed against Balogun by Messrs Rotimi Jacobs, Ben Ubi and O. Uket, upon on 22nd November, 2005.
The affected companies operated Enterprise Bank Account Numbers OIC0120127800, which was changed to 0831001003936; OIC01201278, changed to 1200404146; OIC31201472, changed to 1200403572; OIC11201191, changed to 0831001003741; OIC31201473, changed to 1200403589; OIC31201475, changed to 1200403606 and OIC31201474, changed to 1200403596, some of which were 13 digit account numbers even under the new banking dispensation of 10 digits.
It was discovered that the change in affected bank account identity to other things beginning with letters “FD”, meaning Fixed Deposit, was to obfuscate investigations, except for a forensic investigator who has a “Third eye”.
Also in order to confuse investigators, the account identities were coded in the bank records and the account numbers changed.
Sources told our reporters that Magu, secretly through a “legacy bank”, the defunct Fountain Trust Bank, managed proceed of $1,473,660.96 in the name of Olatrade Nig Ltd and another sum of $1,476,662.00 identified as “UD$ Domiciliary Account” belonging to the same company.
Also, there was a transfer of the sum of N2,258,100,516.98 to Access Bank account number 0100193867 by the Fountain Trust Bank on 25th June, 2008, three years after Balogun’s assets was forfeited through the court judgement, raising suspicion that some of the money recovered from Balogun were not declared, but missing.
It was also discovered that a new account number 0111000051206 in unnamed bank effected bank transfers which melted away the sum of N254,279,678.81 and N254,279,679.91 respectively on 28th October, 2005, whereas Balogun’s trial started on 1st April, 2005, when transactions on the bank account were supposed to have been put on hold.
We also gathered that the panel was informed that the sum of N558,044,436 and N293,139,000 was remitted from Access Bank account number 0005399921 on 11th September, 2014 and 12th December 2014 respectively to unknown bank account.
Certified True copies of the Statement of Account of the Enterprise Bank as it relates to the companies accounts, the Access Bank accounts and the Federal High Court order forfeiting Balogu’s assets were sighted by The AUTHORITY.
*US, UK, France, monitoring development
Meanwhile, information at our disposal have proved that several of Nigeria’s strategic international partners are taking more than a passing interest in the
Most of these are countries which have entered into Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with Nigeria.
Prominent among these countries include the United States (U.S.), the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Switzerland.
Several revelations made before the Justice Isa Ayo Salami Presidential Investigation Panel probing the allegations against Magu, especially by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) Abubakar Malami, have earned front page coverage in the media both locally and internationally.
Although Magu denied the claim by Malami that he failed to account for the interest in the N550 billion recovered and kept in CBN’s custody, other revelations, have given out the EFCC as a commission of sleaze and high wire corruption, rather than anti-corruption agency.
In a statement by his lawyer Wahab Shittu, Magu said such recovered fund kept with the Central Bank of Nigeria do not generate interest. He also denied that Magu was confronted with any such allegation by the panel.
“All recovered funds are lodged in the Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Such recovered funds do not generate interest. This is elementary and can be verified from the CBN and the federal ministry of finance.
“This can also be confirmed from other government revenue generating agencies. Funds kept in TSA account do not generate interest.”
Meanwhile, top diplomatic sources confirmed that several countries are monitoring on-going development regarding the EFCC.
The source said: “Despite the fact that we have our individual intelligence on the development in your country, we are sitting and watching what is going on at the investigative committee.
Another senior diplomat quoted by another newspaper said: “My country knows a lot about power play in Nigeria but we are careful in dabbling in the affairs of your country.
“We are being meticulous in monitoring the fact-finding committee because its findings and recommendations might determine your commitment to the anti-graft activities.”
An expert in one of the international agencies said: “All members of the Diplomatic Corps, global financial institutions and donor agencies are interested in the ongoing investigation of EFCC’s activities under Magu.
“We have been comparing notes at the diplomatic level, especially by countries like the UK, the US, France, Switzerland, Italy, UAE and others.
“We are giving all the parties the benefit of the doubt, even though the activities of some political office holders are predictable in this circumstance.”