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EFCC vs Adenuga: He's being harassed for nothing, says Awujale

Posted by LEKAN BILESANMI &AYODELE OJO on 2006/08/19 | Views: 1197 |

EFCC vs Adenuga: He's being harassed for nothing, says Awujale


THE travails of businessman and chairman of telecommunications giant, Globacom, Otunba Mike Adenuga (Jnr.), in the hands of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been described as a clear case of witch-hunting by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, even as the monarch criticised the Federal Government for giving blanket support to the commission’s activities.

THE travails of businessman and chairman of telecommunications giant, Globacom, Otunba Mike Adenuga (Jnr.), in the hands of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has been described as a clear case of witch-hunting by the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, even as the monarch criticised the Federal Government for giving blanket support to the commission’s activities.

The paramount ruler of Ijebuland yesterday lent his voice to the growing criticisms that have trailed the EFCC over its offensive against Adenuga and his business concerns on alleged financial crimes.

Adetona, who was accosted by newsmen at a social function in Lagos, decried the EFCC’s action, saying it was a dangerous signal to investment opportunities in Nigeria.

His words: “That (Adenuga’s harassment) is very unfortunate. But all I can assure you is that Mike Adenuga is a serious businessman. He does his business in a way that is not criminal, such that contributes to the socio-economic development and progress of this country.

“What is happening to Adenuga is a passing phase. We leave everything to God. The only regret is the way EFCC is conducting itself and carrying out its operations by harassing people and the Federal Government is watching. This is very unfortunate”.

The royal father said though the commission was carrying out its statutory functions, such should be done according to laid down rules. “There are laid down laws that guide the conduct of the commission on what to do and how it should be done. Hence, Adenuga should be prosecuted according to the laid down rules if there is any allegation against him, not by harassing him and his business concerns”, Adetona told newsmen.

In the last one month, Adenuga and his business interest have been under the searchlight of the commission. The EFCC, in a commando style, had Monday, July 10, picked him up at his Lagos residence over alleged diversion of money from the Petroleum Technology Fund to fund some of his projects and other related issues. And, last week, Mohammed, the first son of the former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, was arrested over alleged ownership of 25 percent shares in Globacom. Mohammed has regained his freedom and Globacom vehemently denied the claim of shares ownership.

In continuation of investigations of Adenuga and his business interests, three of his companies - Globacom; Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) and Conoil, a downstream oil company - were invaded by EFCC operatives last Tuesday and Wednesday. Reports had it that the companies head offices in Lagos were raided almost simultaneously.

At the Globacom head office located on Victoria Island, Lagos, about 20 operatives of the commission stormed the company. The operatives, according to officials of the company, allegedly broke doors with special metal with fork fingers which they came along with in order to gain access to offices.

During the operation that lasted almost three hours, business transactions at the companies were put on hold while the operatives prevented anybody from leaving or entering the offices.

At the Mike Adenuga Towers housing Globacom head office, the EFCC operatives were said to have gone straight to the fourth floor of the building in company of the telecom provider’s executive director, human resources, Mr. Adewale Sangowawa, whom they, according to officials, earlier picked up from his Saka Tinubu, Victoria Island office. The fourth floor houses the legal department of Globacom. The commission’s operatives subsequently demanded to see Mrs. Gladys Talabi, Globacom’s executive director, legal, who was said not to be around.

When the executive director, legal, could not be produced, the EFCC operatives allegedly carted away computer hardware, files and other sensitive documents found in her office. Some members of the management of the Adenuga’s firms taken to the commission’s Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, offices, were made to write statements and subsequently released.

EFCC chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, while confirming the raids on Adenuga’s firms, said that the action was a routine operation. “We went there to take some documents to aid our investigations”, Ribadu was quoted as saying.

There were, however, unconfirmed reports that Adenuga and two of his children have fled the country. Adenuga was said to have relocated to Ghana with an ECOWAS travel documents while two of his children who are in management positions in his firms relocated to London. The decision to relocate, according to reports, stemmed from the plan of EFCC to re-arrest the business mogul.

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Comments (3)

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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

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

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

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