IKOYI BILLIONS : ANTI-GRAFT AGENCY SUMMITS REPORT TO PRESIDENCY

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency has submitted a report
to the Presidency on the N15bn it seized in an
operation in Lagos,
The report gave details of the discoveries made
during the operation, as well as the origin of the
money, credible sources said yesterday.

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The money, seized from an apartment at Osborne
Towers, Ikoyi on Wednesday, was made up of
$43.4 million, £27,000 and N23m.
The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) has claimed
the money.
Those who speak for the agency anonymously said
the apartment was being used as a safe.
However, EFCC sources point out that the apartment
is being rented by a private company.

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The EFCC is, therefore, working hard to unravel the
identities of the owners, sources said.
Also, the EFCC is said to be interested in the role
some tenants in other apartments in the building
may have played in stashing the money.
Among those who took up apartments in the
highbrow area is a former governor as well as
former senior officers of government agencies
already under the radar of the EFCC over financial
crimes.

It was gathered that the Director General of the NIA
visited the acting Chairman of the EFCC and
requested the money be given back to his agency,
but his appeals were turned down.
This according to sources, might be to enable the
NIA inform the Presidency on the real purpose of
the fund, and reclaim it from there.
NIA source told newsmen that the apartment where
the EFCC recovered the fund was protected by NIA
personnel adding that “even those protecting the
place were not aware of what was inside. There
were NIA officials there when the money was taken
by the EFCC.”

The source also said the President was aware of all
NIA operations. He was being briefed appropriately.
On why the fund was not returned to the Federation
Account 2 years after it was approved, the NIA
source said “normally moneys budgeted for security
operations are not returned to the treasury.”

The agency insists that the recovered N15 billion
belongs to it and that the fund was approved for a
covert operation.
It was also gathered that flyers of the Goodluck
Jonathan-Namadi Sambo, 2015 presidential
campaign was found at the apartment.
However, a source familiar with the operations of
the NIA said a lot of irregularities characterised the
previous administration in the name of covert
operations.

He noted that even partisan activities could be
termed covert operations, adding that feelers
indicate that, the money kept in a house, meant
they did not want it traced to any agency of
government.
The source alleged that the money was to be used
for the 2015 election but was now being kept to be
used for 2019.

He added that further investigation might implicate
the current leadership of the agency and other
opposition governors in financial crimes.
He explained that monies used for covert operations
by the NIA are not usually in large amount.

The source said funds for top class operations
which required up to ten undercover operatives in a
foreign country did not exceed $100,000, usually
withdrawn from a bank.
He also said it is abnormal that such money (N15
billion) was kept in what is being described as a
safe house.
According to him while there are safe houses, they
are only used strictly for operational purpose and
not financial.

Checks on the website of the Budget Office
indicated that the National Intelligence Agency
(NIA), is under the Office of the National Security
Adviser (ONSA).
Its budget for 2014 was N36.923 billion with
personnel cost accounting for N26.132bn.
The total overhead cost was N2.262bn, while the
capital component was N8.5bn.

The N13bn uncovered at the Lagos safe house was
far more than the NIA’s other recurrent and
overhead costs as well as the entire capital
allocation combined allocated for 2014.
Similarly, the N13bn was higher than the entire
overhead costs and capital expenditures for each of
the agency’s budget for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
As for 2015, NIA’s budget was N33.470bn. The
personnel cost for that year was N25.381bn;
overhead, N1.789bn, with a total recurrent of
N27.170bn, while capital expenditure was
N6.299bn.

In 2016, NIA’s budget was N31.349bn, out of
which personnel cost was N23.731bn; overhead
was N1.375bn and the capital expenditure was
N6.243bn.

The NIA’s proposed budget for 2017, which is
currently before the National Assembly is
N33.876bn. The personnel cost is N25.381bn;
overhead is N1.864bn, while capital proposal is
N6.631bn.

Courtesy: News Reporters

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