EFCC seizes N6.8bn from GEJ’s cousin, others over diverted benefits of PHCN workers

This is not the best of time for Roberts Azibaola, a cousin to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. EFCC has frozen N6,811,846,443 found in the accounts of companies belonging to him and Bestworth Ins. Brokers Ltd.

The frozen cash was part of the N27,188,232,208 benefits of the deceased staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), which were diverted.

This is coming a week after soldiers sealed off the construction site of Kakarta Civil Engineering ltd. owned by him for alleged security threat.

Of the N27,188,232,208, the sum of N951,637,223 was deducted as Value Added Tax (VAT) and Wihtholding Tax and paid through Diamond Bank and UBA Plc for direct credit to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

About N26,236,594,986 was allegedly looted by some top officials of the Jonathan administration, while N1.8billion was spent on the purchase of vehicles for the Goodluck Campaign Organisation.

The EFCC also confirmed yesterday the seizure of a N585million property which the Chief of Staff to the ex-President, Brig. Gen. Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa (rtd) allegedly bought with his share of the diverted cash.

Another N1billion from the N26b cash was allegedly paid to Kebna Studios and Communication ltd controlled by a former DG of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki.

These highlights were contained in the findings of the EFCC in its ongoing probe of the looting of the terminal benefits of the defunct PHCN.

Those under probe are Jonathan's ex-Chief of Staff, Arogbofa; Dikki; Kebna Studio and Comms ltd.; a former Accountant-General of the Federation, Otunla Dapo; the Managing Director of Kakatar Group, Azibaola Roberts; Director of Funds in Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mohammed K. Dikwa; Innovative Alternative Limited and a top official of Bestworth Ins. Brokers Limited who was said to be on the run as at press time.

The EFCC said in part: “Sometimes in 2014, the above named conspired amongst themselves and used Bestworth Insurance Brokers Ltd to divert N27,188,232,208.20 from the Federal Government of Nigeria through the BPE.

“The said account was originally approved to be released to Great Nigeria Insurance Plc (GNIP) as Group Premium Insurance (death and accident) claim to the next- of- kin of ex-PHCN staff who died in service and those that suffered incapacitation to accidents.

“Both covert and overt investigations aimed at determining the veracity of the information were discretely carried out into the Insurance Brokers Ltd domiciled with Skye Bank, Unity Bank and Keystone Bank.

“Efforts were also made to locate, identify and profile the operation of the company at both their Kaduna and Lagos offices.

“Consequent upon this, Benjamin Ezra Dikki (former DG of BPE) and Brig. Gen. Jones Oladehinde Arogbofa (rtd), erstwhile Chief of Staff to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria were indicted in connection with N1.5b traced to their benefit. The totality of these efforts led to the following findings:

“That the FGN decided to privatize the PHCN through BPE. The proceeds from sales were remitted to the OAGF.

“That the Federal Ministry of Power and the Federal Ministry of Labour in a bid to resolve a dispute emanating from the staff of the PHCN over unpaid insurance claims diverted the matter to BPE which advised that the claim be paid from the proceeds of the privatized PHCN.”

EFCC also gave details of how the fraud was perpetrated.