There are strong indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may have ordered an independent investigation into the recovery of an estimated N13 billion from a private residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). It will be recalled that operatives of the anti-graft agency had, last Wednesday, stormed the Ikoyi building where $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000, cash was warehoused.
Repeated calls made to the phone lines of the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, indicated that they were “switched-off”.
He had yet to reply text messages sent to the same platforms as at the time of filing this report. Meanwhile, Sunday Telegraph learnt from highlyplaced sources yesterday, that the confusion over the ownership of the huge cash haul is a source of embarrassment to President Buhari, whose commitment to the anti-graft war is sacrosanct. At a time the public was waiting with bated breath for the EFCC to reveal the identity of the owner of the recovered money, the Rivers State Government had laid claim to same.
This was as an online news medium, Premium Times, had quoted the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), as claiming ownership of the contentious money, thereby introducing a more complex narrative to the scandal.
In a statement released on Friday, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had alleged that the cash belonged to his state.
The Governor was quoted as saying: “We have facts to prove that the said money belongs to the Rivers State Government.
“The Federal Government must return our money. “We are giving them seven days to return our money. Otherwise, we would take legal action to recover our money. $43million will help us complete several projects. We need that money for projects.”
The NIA has yet to issue an official statement on the development, even as a former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, was said to have denied any link with the cash.
However, Sunday Telegraph gathered that Buhari had vowed to get to the root of the matter, to preserve his cherished war against corruption.
According to our source, who pleaded anonymity, anybody found to have breached financial laws will be appropriately sanctioned. He said: “In the face of the recovery and subsequent claims out there, the President views this very seriously. “In fact, I can tell you that efforts are on to get to the root of this scandal.
“Now, it is pertinent to unravel what such huge sums of both local and foreign currencies – public or private funds – will be doing in a private residence.
“Monies are kept in Bank Accounts operated by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). “Nonetheless, there might be exceptions, no doubt, but that will soon be resolved.”