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N15bn: EFCC Submits Report To President

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has submitted a report to the Presidency on the N15bn it seized in an operation in Lagos, Daily Trust has learnt.

The report gave details of the discoveries made during the operation, as well as the origin of the money, credible sources said yesterday.

The money, seized from an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi on Wednesday, was made up of $43.4 million, £27,000 and N23m.

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has claimed the money.

Those who speak for the agency anonymously said the apartment was being used as a safe.

However, EFCC sources point out that the apartment is being rented by a private company.

The EFCC is, therefore, working hard to unravel the identities of the owners, sources said.

Also, the EFCC is said to be interested in the role some tenants in other apartments in the building may have played in stashing the money.

Among those who took up apartments in the highbrow area is a former governor as well as former senior officers of government agencies already under the radar of the EFCC over financial crimes.

It was gathered that the Director General of the NIA visited the acting Chairman of the EFCC and requested the money be given back to his agency, but his appeals were turned down.

This according to sources, might be to enable the NIA inform the Presidency on the real purpose of the fund, and reclaim it from there.

NIA source told Daily Trust that the apartment where the EFCC recovered the fund was protected by NIA personnel adding that “even those protecting the place were not aware of what was inside. There were NIA officials there when the money was taken by the EFCC.”

The source also said the President was aware of all NIA operations. He was being briefed appropriately.

On why the fund was not returned to the Federation Account 2 years after it was approved, the NIA source said “normally moneys budgeted for security operations are not returned to the treasury.”

The agency insists that the recovered N15 billion belongs to it and that the fund was approved for a covert operation.

It was also gathered that flyers of the Goodluck Jonathan-Namadi Sambo, 2015 presidential campaign was found at the apartment.

However, a source familiar with the operations of the NIA said a lot of irregularities characterised the previous administration in the name of covert operations.

He noted that even partisan activities could be termed covert operations, adding that feelers indicate that, the money kept in a house, meant they did not want it traced to any agency of government.

The source alleged that the money was to be used for the 2015 election but was now being kept to be used for 2019.

He added that further investigation might implicate the current leadership of the agency and other opposition governors in financial crimes.

He explained that monies used for covert operations by the NIA are not usually in large amount.

The source said funds for top class operations which required up to ten undercover operatives in a foreign country did not exceed $100,000, usually withdrawn from a bank.

He also said it is abnormal that such money (N15 billion) was kept in what is being described as a safe house.

According to him while there are safe houses, they are only used strictly for operational purpose and not financial.

Checks on the website of the Budget Office indicated that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), is under the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Its budget for 2014 was N36.923 billion with personnel cost accounting for N26.132bn.
The total overhead cost was N2.262bn, while the capital component was N8.5bn.

The N13bn uncovered at the Lagos safe house was far more than the NIA’s other recurrent and overhead costs as well as the entire capital allocation combined allocated for 2014.

Similarly, the N13bn was higher than the entire overhead costs and capital expenditures for each of the agency’s budget for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

As for 2015, NIA’s budget was N33.470bn. The personnel cost for that year was N25.381bn; overhead, N1.789bn, with a total recurrent of N27.170bn, while capital expenditure was N6.299bn.

In 2016, NIA’s budget was N31.349bn, out of which personnel cost was N23.731bn; overhead was N1.375bn and the capital expenditure was N6.243bn.

The NIA’s proposed budget for 2017, which is currently before the National Assembly is N33.876bn. The personnel cost is N25.381bn; overhead is N1.864bn, while capital proposal is N6.631bn.
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