N13bn Scandal: EFCC, Interpol Fail To Arrest Fugitive Ex-NIA DG, Wife, 15 Months After

May 31, 2020
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Amb. Ayodele Oke

The PUNCH reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the International Police have yet to arrest a former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Folasade, declared wanted for N13bn money laundering.

This is happening 15 months after they were placed on the global wanted list for failing to appear in court to answer for the money laundering charges preffered against them.

After declaring the couple wanted, the EFCC was said to have sought the assistance of the Interpol in apprehending the fugitives, but nothing has been heard on the matter since then.

The then acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, had told  Saturday PUNCH  in March 2019 that the commission had asked the Interpol to arrest the couple wherever they might be hiding.

He stated that the commission expected all Interpol member-countries to execute the arrest warrant issued against them.

Oke and his wife had reportedly travelled out of the country for medical treatment in January 2019, shortly before they were to be arraigned in court.

Justice Chukwujeku Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos had on February 7, issued an arrest warrant against the couple following an oral application by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo.

Oke and his wife are wanted in connection with the $43m, £27,800 and N23.8m cash recovered by the commission from an apartment at Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in April 2017.

Under the former DG, the NIA was said to have collected $289,202,382 in cash for special operations from the account of the National Petroleum Investment Management Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria in February 2015.

The agency had claimed that the funds were meant for covert intelligence operations, but the Federal Government insisted it was a case of looting.

The Federal Government subsequently set up a three-man panel headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo which indicted Oke and recommended his dismissal.

Criminal charges were subsequently filed against him and his wife in February 2019 over the cash found at the Ikoyi apartment.

One of the counts read, “That you, Amb. Ayodele Oke and Mrs Folasade Ayodele Oke between 25th day of August 2015 and 2nd day of September 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this court directly converted $160,777,136.85 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria to your own use which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

When contacted on Friday, the Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Dele Oyewale, pleaded for time to get an update from the appropriate department.

Hours later, the spokesman said he could not reach the officer-in-charge of the case for an update.

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