Billions Recovered In Ikoyi: FG May Seize Osborne Towers Apartment

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is considering pushing for the seizure of apartment 7B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where it seized the $43million cash.

That will be in addition to its Friday application to the Federal High Court in Lagos for the final forfeiture of the money to the Federation account.
Officially, no one has come forward to claim the $43,449,947 (about N13 billion), N23, 218,000 and £27,800 (about N10.6milion) cash found in the apartment.

Already, lobbyists are finding their way to the Presidential Villa to plead for soft landing for the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ayo Oke.

Some heads of security agencies are said to be canvassing a second opinion on the probe of Oke.

Ahead of the submission of the report of the Presidential Investigative Committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo tomorrow, there was anxiety last night among government officials who were implicated in the $43.4million haul.

Lawal is being probed over alleged N200million contract awarded to a company, Global Vision Limited, linked with him by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) for the clearing of ‘invasive plant species’ (weeds) in Yobe State.

Oke, on the other hand, is being investigated in connection with the $43.4million cash haul.

Investigation however revealed that apart from seeking the forfeiture of the $43.4million, EFCC might take over apartment 7B.

A reliable source in EFCC said: “The anti-graft commission will soon initiate moves to seize the apartment 7B in Osborne Towers in line with its mandate.

“The circumstances surrounding the purchase of the apartment have been faulted by this commission at a Federal High Court in Lagos. Therefore, we are set to invoke sections 26 and 28 of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004.”

“So, we are not only interested in the cash, we want to take over the apartment. But we are awaiting the decision of the committee bring led by the Vice President.”

It was also learnt that the ongoing probe of the two officials has divided members of the kitchen cabinet of the President.

A source in the presidency said: “Even there is a split among the kitchen cabinet members on Lawal and Oke. The sympathy is more for Oke in view of his high rating in the intelligence community. He is considered a first class diplomat.

“As a matter of fact, Oke was the first to initiate the recovery of Abacha loot during the tenure of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo as a desk officer at the Nigerian High Commission in London. All attempts to make him compromise on Abacha loot failed.

“Of all the security chiefs, he was the only one who wrote an accurate report to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan that he would lose the 2015 presidential election to President Muhammadu Buhari at the risk of his job.

“This is why he was baffled when the $43.4million was linked to the campaign funds for Jonathan.

“Oke has also travelled with the President with his initiatives making the foreign trips of Buhari attracting investments.

“What the lobbyists, including some security chiefs, are saying is that Oke should not be humiliated out of office. They said he should either be allowed to go on voluntary retirement or compulsorily retired.

“Some security chiefs are of the opinion that Oke’s trial might set a dangerous precedent.”

Asked to be forthcoming, the presidency source said: “The whole thing is messy and complicated.”