Olalekan Adetayo, Eniola Akinkuotu and Okechukwu Nnodim
The suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke, on Monday appeared before a committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate him and the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
Oke is being investigated by the committee chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo over his claim that the money uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission at a residential apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, belongs to the NIA.
He had earlier appeared before the committee on Wednesday after his suspension was announced.
The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, on Friday appeared before the same committee to give evidence on what his commission discovered about the money, the owners and their plans.
Oke’s appearance on Monday is believed to be aimed at giving him the opportunity to answer some questions arising from Magu’s submission to the panel.
The committee that has the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN); and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), as members is expected to turn in its report within two weeks
The committee is to investigate why the NIA kept $43.4m, N23m and £27,000 (N13bn) in the Ikoyi apartment. The money was seized by the EFCC based on a tip-off from a whistleblower.
Meanwhile, the committee is set to invite some NIA contractors including construction firm, Julius Berger.
The move, it was learnt, became necessary due to claims by the NIA that many of its projects were carried out by Julius Berger.
The NIA in a letter to Monguno in January last year claimed to have embarked on some projects, which were handled by Julius Berger.
According to documents sent to the NSA, some of the projects are the construction of a conference centre and associated infrastructure at the NIA’s headquarters along Murtala Muhammed Way in Abuja. Others are the physical security upgrades of Gates A and B at the headquarters, remodelling and equipping of OSINT Centre, Recreation Centre, Abuja, construction of link road between the Conference Centre and OSINT Centre, staff housing development in Lokogoma, Abuja.
A source said, “The DG of the NIA said part of the money was meant for the projects handled by Julius Berger. Due to the Act establishing the NIA, the projects of the agency embarks on don’t usually go through appropriation but the money taken from a special fund and then the projects are inspected after completion.”
Sources told one of our correspondents that some of the contractors were investigated by the EFCC last year, with some of their bank accounts frozen but later unfrozen by the commission.
When contacted to confirm if Julius Berger handled some projects for the NIA in 2015, the Head of Media Relations Office of the construction firm, Mr. Moses Duku, said he had no idea.
“And as for this, I can only speak on it after I must have confirmed from my management. I’ll talk with my executive management on Monday and maybe I’ll be able to give you something about what you’ve just asked for. I have no single idea on this issue.”
On Monday, he was reminded of the inquiry and discussion he had with our correspondent on Saturday, but he stated that he had yet to speak with the executive management personnel that was supposed to confirm the development.
Duku said, “I saw your (our correspondent’s) text but I’ve not got the information you require, for the person to give it is not around. He has a meeting somewhere and he left since morning.”
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