Nigerians are just realizing that another $40m was hidden by the sacked Director-General of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ayo Oke, after the controversial discovery of $43m at Osborne Ikoyi flats in 2017. Latest media reports indicate that the $40m was found in a vault in the NIA and was discovered during investigations by the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Online media reports say the $40m was allegedly part of money hidden by Oke for pocket expenses.
Details: It was revealed that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s investigative panel recommended that the recovered $40 million, which was deposited at a dedicated account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) be forfeited to the Federal Government because of the questionable circumstances surrounding its recovery. President Muhammadu Buhari is however said to have ruled otherwise, ordering the return of the $40m to NIA and that the ex-NIA boss should not be put to public trial for security reasons.
It was further gathered that this was after series of persuasive memos by the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari, convincing the president on the need to release the recovered hidden money to the new NIA boss, Ahmed Abubakar. President Buhari was said to have ordered the CBN to immediately release the recovered fund to the agency.
The VP’s panel believed the $40m was being hidden for personal use (diversion) but the Chief of Staff believes the money was for a special project by the NIA, it was gathered.
The source lamented that from “available records, the $40 million was not tied to any project in NIA (overt or covert) or was the money listed as part of a special fund in the agency as at the time it was recovered. We are aware that the Osibanjo’s Panel was of the view that the money should be forfeited to the Federal government because of the controversial circumstances under which the money was recovered but how they convinced the president to release the money to the new NIA boss is something that is still a mystery”.
The source added that “the fear now is that since the money has no direct link to any project in NIA, it may just be shared by some individuals for personal purpose just like the Ikoyi money”.
The source further stated that the release of the money to the new NIA boss saddened members of the committee that sat for several weeks noting that “the whole thing rubbished the work of the Panel that investigated the matter as well as the anti-corruption drive of the government”.
A top presidency source told our source that despite the indictment of Oke by the investigative panel, top Buhari aides are shielding the disgraced DG from prosecution citing national security.
The source said “they are giving flimsy excuses why Oke should not be prosecuted or put on trial but from our findings, those who should arrest Oke are the ones providing security for him”.
The source stated further that those shielding Oke “are also saying that putting him on trial publicly would expose the nation’s security apparatus but if that is so why is the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Ibrahim Dasuki, on trial for allegedly doing the same thing?”.
Other members of the panel that investigated the former NIA boss were the Attorney-General of the Federation, (AGF), Abubakar Malami, and the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Mongunu (rtd).