Detectives are holding a businessman who is said to be an associate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
Mr. Uyi Giwa-Osagie is being suspected of allegedly laundering about $4million, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) believes to be “suspicious election cash”.
Uyi’s detention followed an intelligence report on a suspicious transaction by a Bureau De Change operator.
The Nation had exclusively reported on Monday how the PDP reportedly allocated $3million each for “logistics” to its 36 state branches and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Most Bureau De Change operators and banks have, however, refused the “pressure” to convert the hard currency to Naira.
An EFCC source said: “A BDC operator was intercepted for shipping $2million from Abuja to Lagos for suspected money laundering.
“Upon interception by our detectives, the BDC operator admitted that Uyi Giwa-Osagie actually paid the Naira equivalent of $4million into his account in exchange for hard currency.
“We invited Uyi for interrogation on Monday and Tuesday. Our detectives have also conducted a search of his home. Some useful documents were retrieved. Investigation is, however, still in progress.”
“Apart from documents relating to posh properties at home and abroad, a copy of the EFCC Investigation Report on Atiku’s relationship with a jailed U.S. lawmaker, Williams Jefferson, was retrieved from Uyi.
“ An analysis of the account indicated that it yielded over $30million deposits mostly from a firm with a link with the PDP candidate,” the source said, pleading not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter.
He added: “Obviously, there were remittances from the account of a multi-national company linked with the PDP candidate.”
Responding to a question, the source said: “We closed in on Uyi on Monday. We have decided to detain him pending the conclusion of investigation. “
Another source described Uyi as “a reputable lawyer to Atiku”. “It is not out of place if Atiku’s dossiers are found with him.
“ You also need to appreciate his background and antecedents, he is from a very wealthy heritage. By the time he opens up, the EFCC will know that he is not an overnight associate of Atiku.”
Also yesterday, the Department of State Services (DSS) withdrew its invitation to some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials – the National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Prof. Okey Ibeanu and four top directors.
The others are: The Director of ICT, Chidi Nwafor; the Director of Procurement, Ken Ukeagu; the Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Wole Osaze Uzzi and the Assistant Director, ICT, Bimbo Oladunjoye.
The five officers were invited through the DSS office in INEC for interrogation over alleged compromise of the operations of the electoral body.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu downplayed yesterday at a briefing the invitation of the five officers, which was communicated to them on Monday by a director of the DSS.
Although the invitation was later withdrawn, the development created tension in the commission.
A source said: “The DSS has been working on some clues on how INEC’s Smart Card Readers and sensitive materials got into the hands of some suspects in some states.
“The officers were only invited to shed light on the operational modalities of INEC and why the sabotage occurred. We called on them as part of the comprehensive investigation into some allegations raised by the INEC chairman last Saturday.
“Following a twist in the DSS investigation, the invitation was stepped down. I won’t tell you it was dropped because some INEC officers have been implicated in some deals.”
But a source within INEC said: “The five officers were officially communicated through the DSS office at the close of work on Monday. Early on Tuesday morning, a reminder was sent to all the invitees.
“The invitation generated tension in INEC because those summoned hail mostly from the Southeast, Southsouth and Southwest. Some of them have nothing to do with logistics. We did not know why the DSS left out the director of Logistics and the deputy from the North.
“Some staff also saw it as an attempt to intimidate INEC and its officers. The ethnic tension made the INEC management to wield influence to prevail on the DSS to have a rethink on the invitation because it can disrupt plans for Saturday elections.
“It was based on the grave security implications that the invitation of the five top officers was stepped down.” The Nation