Ikoyi cash: EFCC fails to arraign ex-NIA DG, Oke, wife

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday failed to arraign the sacked Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ayodele Oke, and his wife, Folashade.

The anti-graft agency had on Wednesday filed four charges against the Okes before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

They were scheduled to be arraigned on Friday before Justice C.J. Aneke in connection with the sums of  $43,449,947; £27,800 and N23,218,000 (totalling N13bn) recovered by the EFCC from Flat 7B Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos. The money was linked to them.

On Friday, however, the EFCC failed to produce them in court.

The EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, who came to court without the defendants, asked the court registrars to reschedule the arraignment till Wednesday, February 6.

There had been online reports suggesting that Oke and his wife might have left the country.

When contacted on phone, the spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said he was on his way to the office and would get back to our correspondent on the situation of things.

Orilade, however, noted that as of Wednesday, the EFCC had not been able to get the Okes.

The charges against the Okes and the sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, filed in Abuja last week, were believed to have come as President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s response to allegation of selectivity in its anti-graft war.

Although a presidential probe panel headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had since 2017 indicted Lawal and the Okes in its report, the Federal Government failed to act on the report until last week when the defendants were charged to court.

The charges came only days after a civil society organisation, Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre, wrote the Attorney-General of the Federation, demanding that Lawal and the Okes be speedily prosecuted in the manner the Federal Government was treating the case of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who was charged with non-declaration of assets.

In the charge sheet marked FHC/L/499/19 filed against them, the EFCC alleged that Oke and Folashade “indirectly concealed the sum of $43,449, 947, property of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust.”

The Okes were alleged to have committed the crime on April 12, 2017, contrary to Section 15(2)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act 2012.

In the second count, they were alleged to have between August 27, 2015 and September 2015 “indirectly used $1,658,000,” belonging to the Federal Government, contrary to the law.