The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, a lawyer for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Giwa-Osagie was picked up by the EFCC operatives on Monday night for allegedly laundering $2m. He was reportedly implicated by a bureau de change operator who identified him as the owner of the money.
Giwa-Osagie, it was gathered, had been undergoing interrogation in the custody of the anti-graft commission.
Our correspondent learnt the commission’s operatives suspected the $2m might had been budgeted for vote-buying or to compromise electoral officials.
A source said, “We believe the money was earmarked for either campaign financing, vote-buying or to compromise electoral officials but investigations would show what the money was meant for, the sources and why it was routed outside regular banking channels.”
Acting spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, failed to comment on the detention of the lawyer after he had earlier promised to find out about the arrest from the relevant department in the commission.
A former deputy spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, Timi Frank, described the arrest as a witch-hunt by the APC, noting that the anti-graft agency had left nobody in doubt that it was doing the bidding of the party and President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement on Tuesday, Frank said the arrest of Giwa-Osagie a few weeks after Tunde Ayeni, a former chairman of Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank), was picked up and detained, showed that the APC was desperate to “starve the opposition of critical funding for its campaign.”
He called on the international community to sanction the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, for allegedly detaining opposition figures illegally in order to dampen their chances in the forthcoming elections.
Frank said, “Magu cannot claim to be fighting corruption when the only people he finds to be allegedly engaged in fraudulent activities are key members of the opposition. This is a witch-hunt and highly selective.
“Today, the EFCC is clearly an arm of the APC; no thanks to Magu who has officially pledged his support to Buhari by wearing his re-election campaign brooch on his suit lapel.”