- Docks Ex-Govs Ohakim, Nyako, son
A subtle probe of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration may have been initiated by the Federal Government, as it yesterday detained Mr. Steve Oronsanye, who served as Head of Service of the Federation, HoSF under the administration.
Oronsaye was arrested and interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in Abuja for several hours over alleged N123billion traced to his office.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that Oronsaye honoured the EFCC’s invitation yesterday morning when he appeared at its headquarters in Wuse 2, for interrogation by its operatives.
At the time of filing this report, it was not clear if the former HoS had been let off the hook.
A senior operative of the commission confirmed to Nigerian Pilot that Oronsaye was with them to explain his role in the N123billion fraud traced to the HoS office during his tenure.
The alleged scam came to limelight in September 2014 when the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, AGF, released a report which linked and indicted Oronsaye of fraud.
Obasanjo appointed Oronsanye as HoS in June 2009 and he remained in office till November 16, 2010 when he retired.
In the 169-page report, entitled “Special Audit of the Accounts of the Civil Pensions”, Oronsaye was accused of presiding over the theft of the country’s resources.
In May 2011, the Federal Government audited the accounts of the Civilian Pension Department in Oronsaye’s office through a Special Audit Team, which unearthed sharp practices in the management of the scheme.
According to the report, between 2005 and 2010, financial abuses, shady transactions and theft of public funds occurred during the 18 months that Oronsaye was in office.
Although the report was submitted to the government in 2012, no action was taken on it.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that the EFCC reopened the case because of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vow to bring all corrupt public officers to book.
Ex-Govs Ohakim, Nyako, son docked
Also yesterday, the EFCC arraigned two former governors, Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State and Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State, before the Federal High Court, Abuja on charges of corruption, abuse of office and money laundering.
Nyako and his son, Abdul-Aziz, a serving senator, were docked before Justice Evoh Chukwu of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.
They were charged alongside Abubakar Aliyu and Zulkifikk Abba.
The accused between 2011 and 2013 allegedly used five companies – Blue Opal Nigeria Limited, Serore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Towers Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited to siphon over N15 billion from the Adamawa State coffers.
Their arraignment came a few days after a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja declined to restrain the EFCC from arresting Nyako to stand trial for the offences.
Nyako was arrested and quizzed by the anti-graft agency on June 1, 2015 shortly after he returned to the country from self-exile.
He had gone on self-exile after he was declared wanted by the EFCC on February 4, 2015.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Murtala H. Nyako, Abdulaziz Nyako, Zulkfikik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Limited, Sebore Farms & Extension Limited, Pagoda Fortunes Limited, Tower Assets Management Limited and Crust Energy Limited between January and December 2013 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did disguise the genuine origin of an aggregate sum of N6,366,280,000, which sums you reasonably ought to have known to be proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; moneys derived from the theft of Adamawa State government’s funds.”
They pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Following their plea, counsel to EFCC, Aliyu Yusuf, asked the court for a date for commencement of trial, and to remand the accused in prison custody.
He also notified the court that one of its witnesses was in court.
However, defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, SAN, prayed for an adjournment to enable him go through the charges.
Yusuf, thereafter, requested that the accused to be remanded in prison custody.
This was however, opposed by the defence counsel, who told the court that while a bail application for the accused had been filed, it would be proper for them to be held in EFCC custody.
Justice Chukwu adjourned the case till tomorrow for hearing on the bail application, and ordered that the accused persons to be remanded in EFCC custody.
Similarly, Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court, Abuja, adjourned till today for hearing on the bail application by former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim, after he pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of money laundering
He was however remanded in EFCC custody.
The accused, who was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on Tuesday, is being prosecuted, among other things, for making a cash payment to the tune of $2,290,000.00 for the purchase of a property at Plot No. 1098 Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, otherwise known as No.60, Kwame Nkurumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
The amount is above the threshold approved for an individual, going by the provisions of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.
He is also accused of deliberately neglecting to disclose all his assets in the declaration submitted to the commission.