© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
ICPC Uncovers N924.98 Million Fraud In Environment Ministry
By Samuel Malik, Abuja
Four people are being held by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, in connection with a N924 million fraud at the federal Ministry of Environment.
The sum of N924 million is believed by investigators to have been transferred from the ministry’s First City Monument Bank, FCMB, account without permission to the accounts of some organisations in four banks.
The ICPC had on December 1, 2014 received a complaint from the ministry, notifying it of an unauthorised transfer of N924.98 million from its coffers, and the commission immediately swung into action by first freezing the said bank accounts and inviting, arresting and interrogating several staff of the banks and officials of the ministry.
Similarly, FCMB had reported the transfer of the funds to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which also commenced an investigation but later transferred the case to the ICPC at the request of the ministry.
According to the statement by the resident consultant at the ICPS, Folu Olamiti, a key suspect, Adeolu Adeyanju, who had earlier fled to a neighbouring country following the unearthing of the fraud, was among those detained.
Adeyanju is chief executive of Detwinx Global Services Ltd, which received N465, 193, 460.05 in its Zenith Bank account, which he withdrew on the same day.
“The three other suspects are Usman Omoh Sani, who is the brother to a key suspect named Murphy Sani ((alias Murphy Ozi Opene) who is at large (and subsequently declared wanted); Raphael Orim, Managing Director of De-Ormat Furniture and Abubakar Mamman Mutari of Afazuwa Ventures (Bureau De Change),’ according to the commission.
While Adeyanju was arrested by the ICPC, the other three were apprehended by EFCC and handed over to the ICPC.
Details of how the money was distributed showed that De- Ormart Furniture Company Ltd received N143,562,532.50 through its Access Bank account; Felitex Global Enterprises Ltd through First Bank got N39,051,359.00; Afazuwa Ventures received N43,182,404.00 through Fist Bank; Detwinx Global Services Ltd received N468,794,613.79 through Zenith Bank; Alozen Pharmacy Nig. Ltd also through Zenith Bank received N1397,899,494.00; and Federal Board of Inland Revenue got N92,499,553.60 through UBA.
“The ICPC has so far blocked the sum of N459, 789, 456.76 in most of the banks they were transferred to. This includes the sum of N92, 490, 553.60 transferred to UBA purportedly as tax remittance in an account designated as Federal Board of Inland Revenue Account and which has been returned to FCMB as the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) denied operating such an account in UBA,’ the ICPC said.
‘The sum of N358, 695, 789.50 has been mopped up and transferred to the ICPC’s Recovery Account to prevent any further diversions while investigation is still on-going,’ it added.
The anti-graft agency also disclosed that it is aware of efforts made by some persons to stall its investigation, including threats to witnesses and its officers handling the case, but warned that such people risk the wrath of the commission,’ adding that it had directed ministries, departments and agencies of government to ensure proper monitoring of institutional processes that will block future occurrences of unauthorized financial transactions.