The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of a Federal High Court in Lagos not to unfreeze a Unity Bank account with a balance of N1, 902,673,399.93 belonging to a businesswoman, Hajiya Bola Shagaya.
In a counter affidavit filed against Shagaya’s motion seeking to unfreeze the account, the anti-graft agency, through one of its operatives, Musbahu Yahaya Abubakar, argued that the money was the balance of a total of N3,305,150,000, which she received as “founder fees” on behalf of an organization, “Women for Change” being spearheaded by a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The EFCC claimed that the N3.3 billion was realised through Shagaya’s “fraudulent activities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),” where she allegedly “influenced the fraudulent allocation of Dual Purpose Kerosene to Index Petrolube Africa Ltd., with the aid of Mrs Jonathan.”
The N3.3 billion was said to have been paid by Index Petrolube Africa Ltd. and its sister company, Autodex Nigeria Limited. The EFCC, while revealing that the two companies are owned by one Honourable Ezeani ThankGod, also posited that the reason behind the N3.3 billion payments was to “fraudulently facilitate Dual Purpose Kerosene to ThankGod’s company, Index Petrolube Africa Ltd.”
The anti-graft agency further claimed that out of the N3.3 billion, Shagaya had “paid a cumulative sum of N1,212,000,000 to the former first lady, through her account, ‘Women for Change Initiative’ account domiciled in Diamond Bank, to which she is the sole signatory.”
It added that after paying N1.2 billion to Jonathan, Shagaya kept the balance of N1.9 billion to herself by “warehousing” same in her personal bank account in Unity Bank. The commission further claimed that it was on this basis that it secured an order of Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on December 29, 2016, to freeze the account.
However, the businesswoman, through her lawyer, Napoleon Emeaso- Nwachukwu, is contending that she was not given a fair hearing before Justice Muslim Hassan made the freezing order.
She urged Justice Oguntoyinbo to set aside the order by declaring it unconstitutional, null and void. She claimed it violates her right to own movable property as guaranteed by Section 44 (1) (k) of the Constitution.
In a 19-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Sulaiman Aliu, the businesswoman said she is worried that the ex parte May 17. Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency yesterday interrogated Senator Stella Oduah, over an alleged N9.4 billion fraud in respect of security installations at some airports.
Highly placed sources, who informed New Telegraph about the development, said the senator representing Anambra North arrived the commission’s headquarters at about 11a.m.
She was still being interrogated as at last night. One of the sources, who spoke in confidence with this newspaper, said: “Senator Stella Oduah finally honoured EFCC invitation today (Monday). She arrived the headquarters of the agency in Abuja at about 11a.m. and was still being grilled by a team of investigators by 6p.m. “She was invited over allegations bordering on abuse of office and money laundering. “One of the allegations concerns fraud in the N9.4 billion ISEC contract for security installations in some airports.” (New Telegraph)