Osborne Towers: EFCC invites ex-governor, others
Detectives are to question a former governor and some high-profile owners of apartments in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos where $43.4million was recovered last Wednesday.
Besides, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has identified how the controversial apartment 7B, where the $43.4m was kept, was acquired. Also recovered were £27,000 and N23m cash.
The EFCC has intensified investigation into the roles played by some apartment owners and tenants on how the cash was brought into the Towers, The Nation has learnt.
The anti-graft agency is said to be suspecting that some owners or tenants may have been complicit in the matter.
A source said: “The more we investigate this $43.4m haul, the more we get fresh facts. It has become imperative to interact with some owners or tenants of apartments in the Towers.
“We have invited a former governor and other high-profile owners and tenants for interaction. It is just to ask a few questions on whether or not they were aware of such movement of cash.
“We have clues linking some occupants of the Towers to the cash haul. And in line with sections 16 and 17 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004, we are inviting these landlords or tenants.
“Unless we get to the root of this case, Nigerians may not know the truth or otherwise about the cash.
“We are not saying that those invited are guilty of any infraction or having link with the $43.4million but we need to hear from them – in line with the ongoing profiling of those in the Towers.”
Sections 16 and 17 of the EFCC Act reads: “A person when – (a) whether by concealment. removal from jurisdiction, transfer to nominees or otherwise retains the control of the proceeds of a criminal conduct or an illegal act on behalf of another person knowing that the proceeds is as a result of criminal conduct by the principal, or (b) knowing that any property is in whole, or in part, directly or indirectly represent another person’s proceeds of a criminal conduct, acquires or uses that property or has possession of it, commits an office and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not less than five years or to a fine equivalent 105 times the value of the proceeds of the criminal conduct or to both such imprisonment and fine.
“(1) A person who, without lawful authority (a) engages in the acquisition, possession or use of property knowing at the time of its acquisition, possession or use that such property was derived from any offence referred to in this section, or
(b) engages in the management, organisation of financing of any of the offences under this Act; or(c) engages in the conversion or transfer of property knowing that such property is derived from any offence under this Act; or
(d) engages in the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to or ownership of property knowing that such property is derived from any offence referred to in this section, commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to the penalties provided in Subsection (2) of this section.
”The penalties for offences under subsection (I) of this section shall be imprisonment for a term not less than 15 years and not exceeding 25 years.”
Meanwhile, there were indications yesterday that the EFCC had been able to trace how the controversial 7B apartment, where the $43.4m was kept, was acquired.
Another source said detectives discovered that the 7B Apartment was bought in the name of a company allegedly owned by the wife of a senior government official.
“Since investigation is still ongoing, we will not release the identity of the owner of the company. Doing so might jeopardise investigation,” the source said, adding that the EFCC had interacted with “some people from the company.”
A National Intelligence Agency (NIA) source said of the apartment: “What happened was that because of the nature of the covert operations which the apartment will be used for, it was necessary to manage the process well.”
Only the Deed of Assignment was acquired by Thabis Ventures Limited on behalf of NIA. “And immediately the process for the purchase of the apartment was completed, the ownership was clearly stated in the name of NIA. All the papers are reflecting NIA too, he said, adding: “The title document is available for anyone to verify.”
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