Surety seeks withdrawal from Metuh’s trial
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has widened its anti-corruption dragnet into the activities of some officials in the immediate past administration and the judiciary.
On Monday, the anti-graft agency took its fight to the doorsteps of former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro and two justices of the Federal High Court.
While Obanikoro, who has been declared wanted by the EFCC, surrendered himself to the commission in Abuja, the two judges: Mohammed Nasir Yunusa and Hyeladzira Ajiya Nganjiwa were grilled by the commission’s operatives in Lagos over alleged corrupt practices.
The EFCC also yesterday reportedly detained Precious, the wife of former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode and her eight-month old baby in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State.
Obanikoro, who returned to Nigeria from the United States on Monday, left Lagos for Abuja to keep an appointment with the EFFC.
It was learnt that the former minister was accompanied to the EFCC’s office by eight of his associates.
He reportedly arrived at the EFCC’s office in Wuse 2 in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at 1pm. At the time of filing this report, Obanikoro was still in the custody of the anti-graft agency.
EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed to journalists that Obanikoro had surrendered himself.
According to him, “the former Minister of State for Defence is with the commission.”
Before he surrendered himself, the EFCC had invited Obanikoro over his role in the N4.75 billion arms deal during the tenure of detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
The commission’s action was on the findings of its investigation of a company owned by two of Obanikoro’s sons: Sylvan McNamara. The two sons are Babajide and Gbolahan.
The company allegedly received the funds from Dasuki’s office between April 4, 2014 and December 15, 2014.
The operatives, who probed Obanikoro, said that they have documented evidence that the sum of N4.745 billion was paid into the Diamond Bank account of Sylvan McNamara, which was incorporated in November 2011.
The commission gave the names of the directors of the company as Ikenna Ezekwe, Idowu Oshodi and Elizabeth Adeniyi.
Sylvan McNamara opened an account with Diamond Bank Plc on May 7, 2016 with Gbolahan, Babajide, Ezekwe and Matuluko as signatories.
2 Federal High Court judges quizzed
Justices Yunusa and Nganjiwa arrived at the commission’s office in Lagos at about 10:05am to honour the EFCC’s invitation.
Their invitation is sequel to the bribery and money laundering allegations the commission allegedly discovered during investigations in a case in which two senior lawyers had been arraigned in court.
The interrogation of the judges came a few days after operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded the homes, arrested and quizzed two Supreme Court Justices and five Federal High Court Judges over alleged corruption.
On March 9, 2016, the EFCC arraigned Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and Joseph Nwobike (SAN) before a Lagos High Court on allegations of “bribery and offering gratification to a public official.”
Nwobike and Tarfa are facing criminal prosecution for allegedly offering gratification to Federal High Court judges to prevent them from exercising the duties of their office.
It was learnt that the EFCC’s investigation revealed that the two Judges allegedly received sums of money from the two lawyers.
Surety seeks withdrawal from Metuh’s trial
And at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, Dr. Olugbumi Usim-Wilson, one of the sureties of former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, filed an application seeking to withdraw as surety for Metuh.
Metuh is facing trial alongside his firm for allegedly receiving N400 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) before the 2015 presidential election.
The EFCC told the court that the N400 million which it said was released to the defendants by Dasuki, was part of the $2.1 billion earmarked for the purchase of arms to prosecute the war against insurgency in the country.
It said the fund was electronically wired from an account the ONSA operated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Metuh, through account No. 0040437573, which his firm operated with Diamond Bank Plc.
Usim-Wilson, in a motion filed and dated October 4, 2016 before Justice Okon Abang, prayed the court to remove her name from the lists of people that stood as sureties for Metuh. She did not give reasons for her withdrawal.
On his part, Metuh also filed a motion dated October 14, praying the court to allow him replace Usim-Wilson with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.
Counsel to Usim-Wilson, Clement Chinaka, prayed the court to take the application for withdrawal before taking that of replacement.
No objection was raised by both counsels in the matter except for Metuh’s lawyer Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who observed that if the application for withdrawal was taken before that of replacement, Metuh may stand the risk of going back to prison.
Justice Abang in his ruling held that the court needs to take Metuh’s application first since he has been consistent in the trial.
Meanwhile, reacting to the arrest of his wife and eight-month-old baby, Fani-Kayode asked the anti-graft agency to face him and leave his family alone.
In a statement, yesterday, he said: “This government is sick and cowardly and so are the EFCC. If you have a problem with me face me and leave my family alone. My wife travelled to Ado-Ekiti to see my friend and brother Governor Fayose and his family.”
“They were on their way out of town when they went to Access Bank in Ado-Ekiti to get some money. When they got there, my eight-month-old son, Aragorn and my wife Precious Chikwendu were illegally detained, brutalised and put under arrest on the orders of the EFCC at a bank in Ado-Ekiti.
“She has never had any business with me, she has never been formally invited by the EFCC or asked any questions about her transactions and neither have they written to her on any issue, even though they are always sending letters to my house and sending people there. If Buhari wants to deal with me, why doesn’t he face me like a man instead of trying to harm and hurt my 8-month-old son and wife?”, Fani Kayode said.