As the Presidential Panel investigating the Suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) is preparing to submit its report this week, there are conflicting reports from government officials over the seized N13bn Cash recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Osborne Apartment in Ikoyi Lagos.
The panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is due to conclude its assignment on Wednesday. Other members of the panel are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno. A Presidency source disclosed at the weekend that that National Intelligence Agency (NIA), which claims to own the money, kept President Muhammadu Buhari and the NSA in the dark on the existence of the huge cash.
Meanwhile, an Intelligence source insisted that that the DG NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke mentioned the money to the government in 2015 and 2016. A presidential source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the Presidency was not aware of the existence of the huge amount of money. The source further said that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) only got to know of the existence of the money during the work of the Presidential committee that audited the Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces.
When the suspended NIA boss discovered that that Committee was raising questions as regards certain payments from the CBN to the NIA and to forestall ONSA from blowing the cover, the source said, Oke then gave a report to the NSA on the existence of the funds. He reportedly told the Committee that its job did not cover the activities or the finances of the NIA.
The source added that subsequently, a team was constituted to ascertain the true positions. The committee observed certain payments from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the NIA and raised questions, drawing the attention of the NSA to the funds. However, an Intelligence source close to NIA also at the weekend insisted that Ambassador Oke briefed President Buhari on the release of $289m by the administration of Goodluck Jonathan in April 2015, a month before his inauguration. The intelligence source said that in January 2016, Moguno was officially informed of the existence of the money in a memo.
The source said: “The first briefing was April 2015 to the President on the state of affairs of the agency. The funds were itemised as $289m intervention fund approved and released to the agency by the (Goodluck) Jonathan administration in November 2014. “The second briefing was in January 2016; in a memo to the NSA, he gave more details of the funds.
“Based on the second briefing (memo) report, the NSA set up an audit team, headed by a brigadier general, which inspected the projects and submitted a report in February 2016.
“The NSA wrote back to the DG, NIA on May 17, 2016, stating that the detailed report of NIA’s projects and exercises had been presented to the President and the President was pleased with their work.”