Obaigbena Released After Hours In EFCC Custody | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Obaigbena Released After Hours In EFCC Custody

Posted: Jan 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has granted the Publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, an administrative bail.

It was gathered that the EFCC’s Special Task Force investigating arms procurement scam under the former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, had been interrogating Obaigbena since Tuesday.

The publisher is being investigated by the commission over the N670m he allegedly collected from the office of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

A reliable source confided in our correspondent that he was released on Wednesday evening after he allegedly agreed to refund the money he collected from Dasuki.

The money was part of the $2.1bn meant for the purchase of arms for the military to prosecute the war against the Boko Haram sect.

He was said to have reported on Tuesday to one of the two EFCC teams involved in the ongoing arms probe at the Idiagbon House headquarters of the commission.

A source in the EFCC said that investigations so far by the commission had revealed that Obaigbena allegedly deployed part of the money he got from Dasuki to finance his United Kingdom-based television station, Arise TV.

The EFCC’s operative disclosed that N568, 360, 000 was allegedly given to the Arise Global Media Limited, the promoters of Arise TV.

It was stated that the money was allegedly transferred from the account of General Hydrocarbon which received the funds from Dasuki on behalf of Obaigbena.

It was stated that the mandate from the first tranche of N150m indicated that it was paid for the purpose of an environmental security project while the balance was paid as an energy consulting fee.

It was gathered that the operatives were still probing to establish a link between the funds paid to General Hydrocarbon and the N120m paid to the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria.

“There is so far no established trail of funds moving from General Hydrocarbon’s account to the NPAN account which should have confirmed the claim by Nduka Obaigbena that he received money from the ONSA for onward delivery to NPAN members,” the source said.

It was stated that Obaigbena had already signed an undertaking that he would refund the money he collected from the ONSA in two weeks.

The source said that the undertaking was a pre-condition for an administrative bail granted him on Wednesday.

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, had earlier on Wednesday told our correspondent that the publisher was being quizzed by the commission.

He had said, “Mr. Obaigbena is still with us.”

But as of 7pm on Wednesday, a source in the commission said Obaigbena had been granted an administrative bail.

Obaigbena had admitted in a letter to the commission in December that he got N670m from Dasuki as part of the compensation for the bombing of the Abuja office of ThisDay Newspapers.

He also stated that N120m was given to 12 media houses as compensation for the seizure of their newspapers in 2014 by soldiers.

-punch