The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will on Wednesday (today) arraign Mr. Abiodun Agbele, an ally of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, on charges of fraud involving N1.2bn belonging to the Federal Government.
The said sum was alleged to be part of the N4.7bn that was mysteriously transferred from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser to the bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company allegedly owned by the sons of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.
Obanikoro allegedly took N1.2bn from the N4.7bn and flew it to Akure during the build-up to the governorship election in Ekiti State and handed the sum to Agbele for onward transfer to Fayose.
It was learnt on Tuesday that the EFCC filed the charges against Agbele before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
The EFCC had arrested Agbele in Lagos on June 28 and kept him in its custody pending investigations.
The EFCC said the amount was part of the proceeds of economic and financial crime in which Agbele “was found to have allegedly assisted in receiving and concealing in conspiracy with the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.”
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, had on July 21 ordered the EFCC to release Agbele from its custody.
Justice Adeniyi in a ruling on the suspect’s bail application declared the continued detention of the suspect without being charged to court and without the backing of any competent remand order amounted to a “gross violation” of his right.
The judge awarded N5m against the EFCC as compensation to Agbele for his unlawful detention by the anti-graft agency.
Justice Adeniyi in another ruling on Tuesday, dismissed an application by the EFCC seeking an order of stay of execution of the court’s July 21 order.
The anti-graft agency had filed the motion for stay of execution along with its notice of appeal challenging the court’s ruling.
But the judge in dismissing the application for stay of execution, held on Tuesday that there was no special circumstances to warrant the stopping the enforcement of the order granting bail to the accused.
One of our correspondents confirmed from court officials on Tuesday that Agbele had now been charged before Justice Dimgba of the Federal High Court and his arraignment slated for Wednesday.
In a related development, the EFCC has quizzed Agbele’s account officer, Rita Balogun, over the suspicious payments made into his company account domiciled in Diamond Bank.
Balogun, who works at the Business Banking Unit of the Ibadan West directorate of Diamond Bank, said in her statement of oath that Agbele received over N60m from the Ekiti State local governments funds.
The funds were allegedly paid into his company account, BYKD Consult, with number 0059177132, between February 18 and March 30, 2015. The money was then wired to Affordable Motors.
Agbele allegedly got the funds under the pretext that he was given a contract by Fayose. Investigators are, however, of the opinion that there was no evidence of any contractual agreement.
Balogun in her statement of oath, said, “On February 18, 2015, he received N18,159,050 from MDG-CGS-LG. On the same day, he received N15,319,850 from the same account. On the same day, he also received N11,238,500 from the same account.
“On February 19, 2015, he debited the account with N40m and transferred it to Affordable/Toyota. On the next day, he transferred N15m to Affordable/Toyota. On March 30, he received N15,704,325 from MDG-CGS-LG.
“On April 1, he transferred N3,195,000 to Fini Insurance Brokers. On April 29, he transferred N5m to his personal account titled Abiodun Agbele. On April 30, he transferred another N5m to his personal account while N2m was on May 15, transferred to his personal account.”
She noted that the account had since been frozen by the EFCC.
Meanwhile, workers at the Abuja headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation expressed worry over reported plans by the EFCC to probe about 50 employees of the national oil firm for an alleged N15bn retail outlets fraud.
This is coming as the corporation declared that the EFCC was not right to state that one of its former group managing directors had absconded without stating the particular GMD or the period which the affected official served at the NNPC.
When contacted, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Mohammed Garba-Deen, stated that the report had done great injustice to the past GMDs of the corporation.
He said, “This is because no name was mentioned, rather what it said was a former GMD was linked to the alleged fraud. By so doing it has cast aspersions on the integrity and character of the past GMDs of the NNPC and this is unprofessional. If you cannot mention the name of the former GMD being referred to, why go ahead to publish the sorry?