The Presidential Investigative Panel probing Ayodele Oke, Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and David Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), on Monday quizzed Oke for hours at the Presidential Villa, Independence reports.
Indications emerged on Monday that suspended Oke told the panel constituted by President Muhammadu Buhari to unravel mysteries behind the $43 million stashed in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos that his agency received the money on the orders of former President Goodluck Jonathan in February 2015.
A source said Oke went to the Villa with memos and other documents relating to the transaction.
It would be recalled that NIA Director General’s aides have been invited by the presidential panel.
The panel headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo sat for hours at the Presidential Villa on Monday.
Oke was suspended by the presidency last week Wednesday over discovery of large amounts of foreign and local currencies by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an Ikoyi flat.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, was also sent packing unceremoniously over allegations bordering on the award of contract in the Presidential Initiative On North East (PINE).
The panel’s meeting is being held behind closed doors even as at the time of filing in this report. It started about 1p.m and was still on as at 8p.m.
Other panel members that quizzed Oke included the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno and Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The committee is expected to submit its report next week, tentatively May 2.
NIA had laid claim to the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos, during a raid, raising questions over the integrity of the agency.
The monies were reportedly hidden in safe cabinets inside one of the apartments in the building.
Though detail of the operation carried out by the agency was sketchy, some names were immediately touted as owners of the money and linked to the flat including the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as owner of the Osborne Towers, Adamu Muazu; Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, who was recently relieved of her appointment as Managing Director of NNPC (Retail); Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, and a daughter of Tony Anenih, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP. They have all distanced themselves from the allegations.
The controversy, however, took a new turn when the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was alleged to have immediately laid claims to the recovered loot, stating that the monies were kept for a “covert operation”.
This had raised issues on why the monies were not kept in a safe at the agency’s office which is mainly guarded by armed officers