Sunday, 23 April 2017

N13bn Ikoyi Haul; Who Owns This Money?

By Ndimele "Novel" Kingsley

Despite the mixed reactions which continue to trail the #49m found in Kaduna Airport and #448m found in a shop at Victoria Island, Lagos, another discovery of $43.4m, £27,800 and #23.2m was made on Wednesday,April 12,2017 when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission stormed a residential building in the 7th floor of a four bedroom apartment at Osborne Tower located at 16,Osborne road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

          Who owns this money? Nigerians are questing. Though this question remains unanswered, nevertheless, investigations have revealed top suspects.

The former governor of Bauchi State (1999-2007) as well as former PDP chairman was the first person allegedly fingered as the owner of the stash.He built the block of flats where the money was found in. Mr. Muazu admitted to owning the building in a telephone conversation between his London-based aide, Akin Oyegoke and a correspondent of Sahara Reporters. But Funnily, Muazu has denied claims by Sahara Reporters that he is the owner of the Ikoyi home where the money was discovered.What a contention!

National Intelligence Agency stepped up to claim ownership of the money saying the funds were approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for "covert" security projects. "It is seen impossible,in fact, unconstitutional that a security agency will be carrying out covert operations without the knowledge of the sitting President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces" the source said. "The President has been in power for nearly two years now,not for once did the NIA DG mention any such project tou him,either at security meeting or one-on-one". From what we know so far,funds were indeed approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan for the agency in late 2014.Recall, Ayodele Oke,the NIA Director-General was appointed by Jonathan in November 2013 and retained by Buhari in 2015. But like the monies released for Boko Haram operations,predictably, the funds were diverted for non-security use.That was why Nigerians could infer that the money ended up in a private residence.However, if indeed the NIA owns the money,how come two agencies (NIA and EFCC) who should be on the same side are pitched against each other?

Former Governor of Rivers State as well as Minster of Transportation has also been linked to the recovered money at the  Ikoyi apartment.Governor Fayose's aide and Femi Fani Kayode alleged Rotimi Amaechi of owning the money. Nyesom Wike  says,"We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to Rivers State Government".Chief Mike Ozekhome(SAN) also alleged that the money belonged to a in serving minister under President Buhari. Meanwhile, in a statement released by Amaechi's Media Office which described the news as "fake" there seems to be no proof to support such claim and urged Nigerians to disregard it.

The Direct of EbonyLlfe TV and Executive Producer of Record Breaking Movie "The Wedding Party" has also been alleged as the owner of the money. Rumor claims that Rotimi Amaechi bought the apartment 7A where the money was found and handed it over to her as a gift.However, she has denied ever living in the apartment, receiving or knowing anything about the money.

The embattled Managing Director of Retail at NNPC is one of the possible owners of the money.Reportedly,it was investigated that she owns a flat on the second floor in the building.However, contrary to the claims by Sahara Reporters,a statement by her lawyer says,"the money in different currencies recovered is not own by her." Nigerians are still questing.

Former Governor of Anambra State also owns apartment in the Ikoyi building. He owns one flat on the first floor.

"Reports" revealed that daughter of ex-Peoples' Democratic Party Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Anthony Anenih owns the apartment in the Ikoyi building where the money was found.

Popularly called "Yayi " who represents Lagos West was also named but he has distanced himself from the cash, saying, "the billions of naira discovered by EFCC in Ikoyi does not belong to me and I don't have a house in the said area."

Yes! Think about it! If the money was illegally acquired and it's our common wealth, then,bdon't we all own a SHARE of it?

Amidst allegations, suspects and denials, the question remains WHO OWNS THIS MONEY?

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