By Our Reporter
This is not the best of times for top officials in the Presidency, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, under the close watch of Godwin Emefiele, Zenith Bank, over N70 trillion looted funds at the Federal level that have been traced to 29 private Accounts in 17 banks within the country by a Private Investigator that was said to have been engaged by the Federal government since 2016.
This is because the no nonsense Abdulaziz Bawa, led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, who have continued to blaze the trails with his officials are all over the place trying to see that it eradicate economic and financial crimes through the Court processes and other preventive measures that it has put in place over the last two years.
The convictions of 2,595 victims that was said to have been secured by the anti-graft agency as September 23, 222, bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the top government officials who had looted the N70 trillion with their Collaborators in CBN, Zenith bank and FBN, no longer have a hiding place as their days are numbered.
Aready, the case for the recovery and forfeiture of the alleged N70 trillion looted government funds had been dragged to a Lagos Federal High Court, which the trial Judge Justice Peter Odo Lifu was said to have adjourned to March 6, 2023.
The looted government funds by the few Nigerians parading themselves as super rich was said to have been stashed away in in 29 bank accounts in Zenith, FBN, and 15 other banks , which many believe is enough to fund the country’s Fiscal budget over the last three years. Take for instance the proposed budget for the 2023, Fiscal year as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly this 2022 was N20.5 trillion, the highest budgetary presentation to the Lawmakers over the for approvallast seven years.
The Federal government may have engaged one Muhammed. T. Ismail , a private investigator, who was said to have mobilised his team,and moved into action in an effort to recover the looted funds through the office of Ndarani, a senior Advocate ,&Co(Solace Law Chambers) . The team was said to have met a brick -wall.
The private investigators were said to have ccried out that some vested interests in the Presidency, CBN and Zenith bank who may not have found their involvement in the investigation to identify the banks where the looted funds are domicile funny were determined to sabotage them but that was how far they could go.
. The alleged sabotage by the presidency, officials of the CBN AND Zenith bank , may not have stopped the Private Investigator and his team from doing their job. This is evident as they were said produced a report of their instigation and thus, made a full deposition: Brief on the recovery and forfeiture of over N70 trillion of looted funds by few Nigerians in Suit No. HC/L/CS968/2021 in Court.
As a prelude to the recovery of the funds, the private investigators were said to have arranged a meeting with the office of Abubakar Malami, the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, on January 19, 2021, ‘ ‘‘to discuss details and procedures’’.
Note that the private investigators had identified the 29 bank Accounts where a combined sum of over N70 trillion belonging to the Nigerian government was hidden. The private investigators may have shocked Nigerians when they stated in June 1st, 2022, in a letter of instructions from the minister and which also listed the 29 bank Accounts’’ in 17 banks in Nigeria where the looted funds were domiciled.
There are indications that three Accounts stand out which said to have been were said to have been opened in Zenith bank, and FBN. The Accounts in the FBN, were said to have been domiciled in both local and foreign currency.
The Zenith bank name was said to have been opened in the name of NNPC(REM/ACC/PRIVATE, with Acct. No. 1012280444. I N32 billion, was said to have been lodged into the Account by the operator. The two Accounts in FBN, Accounts: 2006367288,2005942905, bearing NNPC/NAOC IPP SECURITY and NNPC/NAOC IPP SECURITY, respectively were said to have Account balance of N147 billion and $299,613.72 respectively.
Going by the report of the private Investigators which was said to have been deposited in a Lagos Federal High Court ,and which had made ta closely guided secret over the last seven years a public knowledge may have forced officials of Zenith bank to woke up from sleep, stating that the N32 billion in Account No. 12280444 with Account name NNPC(REMACC/PRIVATE) has been transferred into NNPC remittance (CoastalPRD Sales)Account No.1010654418 from t was eventually transferred to CBN/TSA Account on the January 7th, 2016,barely eight months in Buhari first term in office.The questions on the lips of most people was why did it take the bank such long time to speak out until the private Investigators have exposed how Nigigerian government funds are being cornered for private use by few Nigerians.
Another shocking revelation that was said to have been made by the private Investigators was the fact Account No.1012280444 with Zenith bank has five BVNs as follows: 2217335534,22376914983,221934440291,22367697055 and22235680190.
The Private Investigators, going by their interaction with the Zenith bank officials were said to have uncovered that the operator of the bank Account has not been able to supply Statement of Accounts to date. The bank could not provide pictures of the five BVN owners.
The bank may have tried to exonerate itself from the fraud when it said that Account No. .1012280444 and other Accounts being Investigated with the N32 billion lodgement belongs to one Mrs. Okoro Comfort.
The bank was said to volunteer information that BVN 2236767055 belongs to one Mr. Okam Eze Ezenna, who according to the bank receives transactions alert from two phone Numbers: 08139383487 and 08130734041, which belongs to Mrs. Comfort.
Given that the Private Investigators have exposed the operators of the Zenith Account where the N32 billion was lodged in Zenith bank, the question asked concerned Nigerians is : What is holding back the hand of Justice to declare total forfeiture of thse stolen funds to the FG.
In fighting corruptio , the Katsina born Nigerian President had called for collaborative efforts , stressing that ‘’if we do no kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria’’. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy , during Former President Goodluck Jonthan’s Administration and now Director General, World Trade Organiation, WTO, had said in her book that it is dangerous to fight corruption’’, that those fighting menace ‘‘need to equip themselves to do so’’.
Drawing on her experience as Nigeria’s former Finance minister and that her team, she describes the dangers, pitfalls and successes in fighting corruption. She may have given an insight that fraud is deeply incoroirated in Nigeria.