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Exposed: •Six phoney companies that nailed Tafa Balogun •How Obasanjo confronted him

Posted by By Bukola Ojeme on 2005/01/24 | Views: 551 |

Exposed: •Six phoney companies that nailed Tafa Balogun •How Obasanjo confronted him

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigators have zeroed in on the accounts of six companies allegedly used by the out-going Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun to fleece the police of various sums of fund running into billions of naira.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigators have zeroed in on the accounts of six companies allegedly used by the out-going Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun to fleece the police of various sums of fund running into billions of naira.

The names of companies, Sunday Punch learnt on Thursday, were contained in an EFCC’s investigative report submitted to President Olusegun Obasanjo.

A Presidency source, who witnessed Balogun’s encounter with the President in the presence of some of his key aides, told Sunday Punch that the ex-police chief was called unprintable names by an angry Obasanjo before he was asked to hand in his letter of resignation on the spot.

The source, who begged not to be named gave a vivid account of the encounter thus: “Mr. President did not waste time. As soon as the Inspector General walked into his office, he flung the EFCC report at him and shouted: “Tafa! Tafa!” He then paused for a while and called him unprintable names and bawled at him: “Where is the money?”

“He was very angry. He called him all sorts of unprintable names and left the IG with the Chief of Staff, Major Gen. Mohammed Abdullahi (rtd), who informed him of Mr. President’s directive that he should hand in his letter of resignation.

“Apparently unaware of how precarious his situation was, he asked to be allowed to go back to the office to write the letter. But the Chief of Staff insisted that the letter must be written, there and then.”

The exit of Balogun was announced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette on Monday, who said in a statement that the out-going IG was retiring.

Details of the EFCC’s investigation report submitted to president Obasanjo scooped by Sunday Punch on Thursday, in Abuja indicate that a huge amount of money was paid into the accounts of the six companies and the IG’s Imprest Account held at a particular bank from various accounts operated by the police.

The account names and numbers into which the various sums were traced, according to the investigation report, are: Olatrade Nigeria Limited, Account number: 02201191; Renovations Construction Limited: 02201473; Caledonia Telecoms: 02201472; Yeboa Investment Limited: 02201475; Yeboa Nigeria Limited: 02201474; Aworo Nigeria Limited:02201278; Inspector General’s Imprest Account: 02201436.

The report also indicated that Olatrade Nigeria Limited operated a Call Deposit, Street Deposit and Dollar Accounts; Aworo Nigeria Limited operated Current and Time Deposit Accounts.

Another company, Renovations Construction Limited operated Call Deposit and Bankers’ Acceptance Accounts, while Yeboa Investment Limited, Yeboa Nigeria Limited and Inspector General’s Imprest Accounts, operated current accounts.

These companies as learnt from EFCC investigators, were used as fronts to execute various police projects, which were allegedly not allowed by the former IG to go through the normal processes of tender in conformity with the extant Federal Government’s financial regulations.

“The money traced to these accounts were paid in from police accounts, ostensibly for contracts executed for the police. Though not conclusive yet, investigations so far show that some of the projects, for which some payments were made, cannot be located.

“We have been able to verify that a huge chunk of the N1.4 billion, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) paid to the police for security during the 2003 general elections, somehow found its way into the account of Olatrade from the IG’s Imprest Account,” he added.

Findings by Sunday Punch at the Corporate Affairs Commission on Wednesday in Abuja on the ownership of the companies revealed that the companies are owned by the same set of individuals who are believed to be fronts for the ex-IG.

Olatrade Nigeria Limited, Sunday Punch gathered, was registered on April 4, 2003, with registration number 479699; it has Miss Yemisi Adebayo and Afolabi Saka as directors, while Mr. Niyi Imran Ibrahim is the managing director, and its registered business premises as 20, Sofuntere street, Apapa Road, Lagos.

Caledonia Telecoms, which was registered on April 20,2003, with registration number 479700, has Mr Olagunju Niyi and Afolabi Saka as directors, with its registered office in 20, Sofuntere Street, Apapa Road, Lagos.

Yeboa was registered on April 8, 2003, with registration number 418508; it has Mr. Mustapha Imran and Miss Yemisi Adebayo as directors; while Adebayo Abayomi is the managing director, with its registered office at, 20, Joseph Lambo Street, Apapa Road, Lagos.

Yeboa Investment was registered on April 8,2003, with registration number 479172; it has Mr. Imran Mustapha, Miss Yemisi Adebayo and Mr. Abayomi Adebayo as directors, with its registered business premises at 20, Joseph Lambo Street, Apapa Road, Lagos.

Renovations Construction Nigeria Limited was registered on April 30,2003, with registration number 479471 and has Mr Olagunju Niyi and Afolabi Saka as directors, with its registered address at 20, Sofuntere Street, Apapa Road, Lagos.

Contacted on Thursday in Abuja on the various allegations against the IG, the Chairman of EFCC, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu confirmed all these developments. He also confirmed that the IG was, indeed, under investigation.

“I can confirm to you that we are investigating a case concerning the IG.

“Investigations will reveal whatever the situation, whatever the case, what is happening and whatever happens.”

Asked if the on-going investigation actually caused the IG’s sack, he said: “Of course, there has to be something that would precipitate an immediate action like this.

“However, it is left for you to make your own conclusions.”

The EFCC boss said he would soon make a definite statement on when the ongoing investigation of the IG would be concluded.

“We are working day and night. Here, EFCC works 24 hours. I want to give you the assurance that it is going to be as quickly and as fast as we can.”

He also dismissed fears in certain quarters that because he belongs to the same constituency as the former IG, investigations may not be taken to its logical conclusion, promising that there would be no sacred cow in EFCC’s investigations of the alleged misdeeds of the former police boss.

“That is not true. The matter would be investigated to its logical conclusion. What we have done so far is a clear indication that it is not the case.

“What we said in the EFCC, we still stand by it, nobody is above the law in Nigeria, including the Chief Law enforcement officers.”

All efforts to get the comments of the ex-IG did not succeed, as he tactically refused a request for an interview after our reporter had kept a vigil for hours in his residence in Lagos on Friday.

But one of his aides alleged vendetta in what he called the gleeful manner in which the EFCC was carrying out its investigation, although he did not elaborate.

Ribadu, has, however, consistently denied insinuations of vendetta.

Also, contacted for comments, Counsel to Balogun, Dr Tunji Abayomi, who made no attempt to dispute details of the EFCC investigation report, however, expressed displeasure over what he described as the undue publicity being given to the on-going investigations into the IG’s past.

In a telephone interview with Sunday Punch on Thursday, Abayomi said: “My position is distinct from the contents of the investigation report. My position is that, when a public body is given a job to do, that public body has a responsibility to do it without turning it into a theatre. I am just calling for decency and decorum.”

“After all, the British Police came to this country to investigate the death of a Nigerian child.

“It did not call a press conference to announce the investigation. The Inspector General of Police is going through some difficult times. Therefore, some level of care has to be taken by the EFCC. It has to exercise some level of decorum,” he said.

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Comments (2)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown