The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally slammed a four-count charge of alleged $205.9 million fraud on a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke and his wife, Folashade. Also, the anti-graft agency had dragged a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, and five others to the Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged fraudulent conversion of assets.
The charge against Oke and his wife was filed late on Tuesday evening at the Federal High Court in Lagos. It is coming after more than 21 months that Oke was suspended from office after his agency laid claim to the sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and
N23,218,000 recovered by the EFCC from Flat 7B, No. 16, Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Some of the counts against Oke and his wife reads as thus: “That you Ambassador Ayodele Oke, Mrs. Folashade Ayodele Oke, on or about the 12th day of April, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court indirectly conceal the sum of $43,449,947, property of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Flat 7B, No. 16, Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
The duo are expected to be arraigned before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke on Friday. Joined as co-defendants to the former SGF in the charge which was marked, CR/158/19 are; Hamidu David Lawal, Sulaiman Abubakar, Apen John Monday, Rholavision Engineering Ltd and Jasmin Technologies Ltd. In count 1, the defendants were alleged to have, on or about March 6, 2016, conspired to commit an offence to wit: fraudulent acquisition of property and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.
Count 2 reads: “That you, Engr. Babachir David Lawal, while being the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd., on or about 7th of March, 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did knowingly hold indirectly a private interest in the consultancy contract awarded to Rholavision Engineering Ltd. for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of
N7,009,515.96 by the office of the OSGF through the Presidential Initiative for North-East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act 2000.”
President Buhari has been under pressure particularly as the election season is on to prove that his governments anti-corruption war was not a ruse to neutralize political opponents and woe important political actors who are afraid of prosecution to support his re-election campaigns.