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EFCC slams 59-count charges on Okupe for failure to return N120 million

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed 59 charges against a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe for his inability to return N120 million he allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The charges border on money laundering and criminal diversion of public funds after receiving about N120 million which he should have known that the fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki. The  National Security Adviser at the time, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As amended in 2012) and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

Okupe, who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan from 2012 to 2015, admitted on social media that he received N10 million monthly from the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) based on the instructions of President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to a statement by Okupe, the money was meant for a programme on the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA known as ‘Insight’ to showcase the achievements of Goodluck Jonathan.

“The initial N50 million was approved by the President to be paid to me from his security vote. N10 million was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10 million for my office. The balance N30 million was approved as take-off grant,” he said.

“The N10 million I received from the Office of the National Security Adviser monthly was to run my office, pay salaries of staff, which includes overheads, expenses for our numerous press conferences, paying for publications in newspapers, magazines, local and foreign, television programmes, bulletins, and media consultants who assist and facilitate our work. I had about 23 staffers, 11 were graduates out of which five were master’s degree holders.

“The second N50 million was approved again by Mr. President when I reported to him that the monthly allowance had been cut from N10 million to N5 million and that I was no longer in position to keep running a one-hour NTA network programme called ‘Insight’ which was aired 9-10am every Friday.

“We paid NTA about N1.2 million monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600, 000 monthly. The lead presenter on Insight earned N400,000 and the second presenter earned N200,000. Total N600,000.

“We paid for tapes and editing per programme. Besides we also pay honorarium for guests either directly or in form of hotel bills for those outside Abuja, or transportation.

“This cost averagely N500,000 weekly or about N2 million monthly. We spend about N4m monthly on the programme. Mr. President promised to help with the expenses. About a few months later when we had incurred some debts the NSA sent me this N50m which was to cover the cost of the programme for 12 months”.

However, Mr. Sola Atere, who was the Executive Director (News) of the NTA, denied that the station received any money from Okupe.

According to him, the programme was done free of charge as part of the station’s Corporate Social Responsibility.

Atere said initially, the programme, ‘Insight’ was anchored by external persons but subsequently NTA presenters took over.

“Two external persons anchored the programme at the inception but midway, they were not forthcoming. So, NTA presenters were detailed to anchor it. No money was charged for production and transmission of the programme,” he said.

Okupe will be arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, in Maitama, Abuja.

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