Deeply worried and concerned by a litany of discoveries of mysterious billions of naira worth of hard currencies including British Pounds, Euros, US Dollars and Naira Notes in Nigeria, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) have resolved to raise a 34-Point critical questions before the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agents.
We have also been bombarded with calls and text messages for our informed comments by a section of the print media in Nigeria concerning the above named issues particularly the 12th April 2017 “discovery” of naira equivalent of over N13.3billion domiciled in foreign currencies including US dollars, British pounds and Naira notes at a high rising building in Ikoyi area of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria. The criminally dumped currency notes include $43.4million dollars, 28,800 British Pounds and N23.2million; totaling over N13.3billion.
Not long ago, on 3rd February 2017, officials of EFCC claimed that they “discovered” and “recovered” another mysterious sum of $9.8million domiciled in US dollars ($9.77million) and British pounds (74,000 British Pounds). The “discovery” and “recovery”, according to EFCC were made in a house located in Kaduna State belonging to a former Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu. Critics also alleged that the said former NNPC Managing Director is presently having some political differences with the incumbent governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai; possibly over next governorship poll in the State.
The authorities of State Security Services (SSS) had in their press briefing following the Service’s late night raids of the sleeping and dwelling houses of some serving judges on 8th October 2016, claimed that they “discovered” $2million cash in the house of Hon Justice Adeniyi Adeomola; a serving judge of the Federal High Court. Hon Justice Ademola, alongside others was spuriously accused of corruption by the SSS leading to the blue or evil hour of the night invasion of their private residences. Hon Justice Ademola Adeniyi and his wife-Olubowale (current Head of Service of Lagos State) were on 6th April 2017 discharged and acquitted by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja on spurious allegation of corruption leveled against them.
As if these are not enough, the EFCC has illicitly embarked on further mysterious cash discovery jamboree by invading markets and other private business outlets, confiscating cash sums belonging to some innocent business operators. These include N49million it claimed to have “discovered” and “recovered” at the Kaduna airport on March 14, 2017; N448million confiscated at a Lagos Bureau de Change plaza on 7th April 2017 and another N250million confiscated inside a shop located at Balogun Market in Lagos State.
The legal basis and intents of these operations as well as their genuineness have remained sketchy, shoddy, blatant, brazen and condemnable. In crime, guilty act (actus reus) can never secure competent investigation, prosecution, conviction and sentencing except it is combined with guilty mind (mens rea). The main trust of criminal investigation is rested on ascertainment of guilty mind (mens rea) or otherwise, and where mens rea fails to establish itself in criminal investigation, actus reus or guilty act which has been found cannot secure proper prosecution, conviction and sentencing; with the exception being in cases of strict and statutory liability offenses such as traffic and sanitary offenses.
Till date and as we write, the generality of Nigerians do not know the whereabouts of all the monies that the SSS, EFCC and the Federal Government claimed falsely or otherwise to have recovered since the mysterious cash “discovery” and “recovery” jamboree was started by the SSS in October 2016. Whether such mysterious cash sums actually and genuinely exist or were arranged and periodically planted to frame up regime enemies and falsely shore up the so called Federal Government’s anti corruption crusade; have totally remained outside the collective or public knowledge of the generality of Nigerians till date.
We have severally observed and still observe that a lot of things are irremediably wrong in Nigeria particularly under the present dispensation. The sanctity of public governance in the country particularly under the present dispensation is so tainted that it looks as if the country is perpetually gripped and cloaked in leadership gangsterism and mafiocracy
We understand the sentiments shared by most Nigerians including conscientious citizens in the media who always want our informed and unbiased positions to be aired regarding burning national issues particularly in matters of this nature. We are deeply pained and concerned because facts of the issues as they concern our collective interests including governance, security, moral conducts of our leaders and our general welfare are constantly desolated, corrupted and bastardized by those steering the ship of public governance in trust for the generality of Nigerians particularly under the present dispensation at the Federal level. In other words, burning national issues such as that under discussion are never presented to the generality of Nigerians as they truly happened.
We hereby present the following 34-Point Questions before the Federal Government and its agents concerning the mysterious cash sums discovery and recovery jamboree in Nigeria:
· Does it mean that commercial banks are no longer functioning in Nigeria to warrant storage of such huge cash in someone’s office or apartment?
· In common sense, what will be the intention of keeper(s) of such huge cash in such high profile place that plays host to the country’s secret services and well known persons in the corridors of power?
· Is there no longer common sense in art of criminality especially such involving white-collar crime or intellectual crime (i.e. fraud, laundering and embezzlement)?
· Is it not possible that the huge cash was planted as a set up by powers that be targeting certain opponents or regime enemies?
· Is it not correct to say that the “discovered” cash was planted to frame up someone or some hated persons but got misfired?
· Which bank will lend withdrawal approval of such cash?
· Are there no longer limitations to amount of cash to be withdrawn per day and per person/institution in Nigeria?
· Where are Buhari Administration’s monetary policies on hard currencies and cash carriage or do we now have two-side monetary policies in Nigeria: one for the rich and the other for the poor?
· Which individual or institution or company will sanely withdraw such cash and with what intents?
· Has Nigeria abandoned cash and electronic banking and resorted to trade by batter?
· Are payments for contract projects or private sector and public remunerations now paid cash at hand in present day Nigeria?
· Is Nigeria holding general elections or a State gubernatorial election requiring cash bribery and cash logistics of such huge amount under discussion?
· Which bank in Nigeria has the authority of warehousing such huge hard currencies?
· Does CBN have anything illicit to do with this and has it been engaging in such criminal practices under this dispensation?
· Has Nigeria entered the inglorious era of late Idi Amin and his infamous Central Bank in Uganda?
· If not CBN, what about the cabal that controls the sales of forex in Nigeria?
· Does it have any link with Nigeria’s presidency?
· Is there possibility that the forex cabal can be used deviously and dubiously for the purpose of lending such cash to set up hated citizens or regime enemies and get such cash back after the possible completion of evil deeds?
· Why are the so called “discovered” and “recovered” huge cash sums always in mint/neat and unused forms?
· Where are all the “discovered” and “recovered” cash sums including the $2million “Judges’ loot”, $9.8million “ex NNPC’s MD loot” and the latest N13.3billion “Ikoyi mysterious billions”, etc?
· Have these huge cash sums been deposited to the Federation Account manned by the CBN or the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government?
· Are the huge cash sums in the custody of EFCC or SSS presently?
· Does the law allow them to keep money for the Federation of Nigeria?
· Is it not correct to say that the huge cash sums are lent from their dubious private owners or custodians (i.e. CBN or cabalistic forex dealers) for the referenced dirty jobs and returned to them being used in setting up regime enemies including some judges and other opponents of the present central government in Nigeria?
· Is there really anti corruption crusade going on in Nigeria under this dispensation?
· Is it correct to say that decampment to APC is the beginning of issuance of clean slates to decampees in matters of graft or corruption?
· Has it not become a pattern that whenever there is a national controversy surrounding the so called anti corruption crusade, such as the present ordeal of COMPOL Ibrahim Magu; strange huge sums of cash will be discovered with their “discoveries” credited to doubtfully existing “whistleblowers”?
· Is it not correct to say that there is a raging fraud in the activities of some CSOs which have now become the government mouthpiece on “anti corruption”?
· Is it also not correct to say that these government mouth-pieced CSOs are complicit in the present central government’s hyper corruption of the anti corruption crusade in Nigeria?
· Is there not something strange about the exclusive reports of the two Southwest owned online news media in the country bordering on the government’s so called “anti corruption crusade”?
· Is it also not correct to say the strangeness of their exclusive reports particularly on periodic “discovery” of huge cash sums by agents of the present government such as EFCC and SSS is a clear indication that they are far from being independent and are controlled by the said government?
· Is it not correct to say that the events that are periodically reported as exclusive by them are brazenly arranged or stage-managed?
· Is it not correct to say that these two online news media are “the whistleblowers” the present government noisily talked about, used and funded by in its so called “anti corruption crusade”?
· Is it not correct to say that such exclusive reports are well known to the two online news media as stage-managed and false?
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board ChairmanMobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Chinwe Umeche, Esq.Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Florence C. Akubilo, Esq.Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Contact: International Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law
Phone Lines: +2348182411462, +2349063500218