THE House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for Effective Efficient Management and Utilisation has asked the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), to explain the circumstances surrounding the slush fund recovered from a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Folasade.
In some documents sighted by newsmen on Wednesday, the committee accused Monguno of concealing information on the current state of the fund recovered from the ex-NIA boss.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had declared that the couple wanted in connection with the $43m, £27,800 and N23.8m cash recovered by the commission from an apartment at Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in April 2017. At the then exchange rates, the monies amounted to laundering N13bn.
Under the former DG, the NIA was said to have collected $289,202,382 in cash for special operations from the account of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2015.
The House committee, at the investigative hearing held on May 28, 2021, had asked the Chairman of the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, about the whereabouts of the recovered loot.
Bawa had said, “As it is today, it is with the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Final Forfeiture Account. I don’t know precisely where the funds are, whether we have moved them to the Consolidated Revenue Fund. But what I do know is that the monies are in an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
The committee has now written to the NSA to say that submissions made by other respondents had contradicted his earlier claims to the panel.
In a letter from Chairman of the committee, Adejoro Adeogun, dated May 31, 2021, with Reference Number NASS/HR/9/AD-HOC/06/07/2020/123, the lawmakers stated that contrary to Monguno’s earlier claim, assets recovery accounts were being run by ONSA.
The letter, titled ‘Re: Invitation to Investigative Hearing’, read, “Your letter NSA/619/A dated 8th December, 2020 refers.
“In the letter under reference, you inform the committee that your office neither retains recoveries nor maintains any recovery account.
“Facts from oral and documentary evidence before the committee, sequel to the ongoing investigation launched by the committee, reveal that your office maintains a recovery account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Testimonies also before the committee also revealed that the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 recovered from Osborne Towers in Ikoyi Lagos are under your custody.
“The committee is refraining to assume that you concealed information requested by it via its letter NASS/HR/9/AD-HOC/06(07/2020/20 dated 3rd November, 2020.”
The committee also invited Monguno to appear before it on Monday, saying, “Kindly note that the committee will not entertain representation. However, officers whose responsibility covers the investigation may be allowed to testify under oath.”
In the letter earlier sent to Monguno, the lawmakers had requested for a series of documents and information.
The letter read in part, “Pursuant to Sections 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and in furtherance of the objective of the investigation, the ad hoc committee writes to request that you furnish it with the following documents:
“Official position of the Office of the National Security Adviser on the recovery and management of looted funds; proceeds of corruption, money laundering and financial crimes;
“Reports on all recoveries, seizures and confiscations of non-cash movable items recovered in Nigeria and abroad, e.g. automobiles, white goods, jewellery, etc, suspected to be proceeds of corruption, money laundering and financial crimes available to your office from 2002 to 2020, among many others.
NSA, IGP, others to appear today
Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (retd.); Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba; Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ahmed Audi; and Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Bashir Jamoh, are to appear before the panel on today (Thursday).
They had failed to show up at the hearing on Monday, causing the committee to threaten to invoke its constitutional powers against invited top Federal Government officials who failed to attend its investigative hearings.