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NFIU commences “secret investigations” of Lawan, Gbajabiamila, others



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The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has commenced investigation into the bank accounts of all politically exposed persons including President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; his deputy, Idris Wase, as well as the principal officers and members of the National Assembly.

Others also being investigated are all judges in Nigeria, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad are also under investigation as well as the bank accounts of “other relevant politically exposed persons.

According to findings by National Daily, the NFIU has written to all banks in the country on Friday, to send them the banking information of the names under investigation.

The letter signed by the NFIU’s Associate Director, Analysis and Compliance, Fehintola Salisu, gave the banks up till September 13 (Friday) to comply with the directive.

The letter addressed to all Chief Compliance Officers of the banks was tagged “Request for information on all accounts of 1. The National Assembly. 2. All accounts of all the members of the National Judicial Council. 3. All accounts of all the members of the National Assembly. 4. Accounts of principal officers (Management) of National Assembly Service Commission. 5. All accounts of principal officers of the judiciary.”

However, when questioned, the NFIU Director, Modibbo Tukur, said he was not aware of the letter, but stated that the banks could be punished for leaking the content of the letter, which he described as an “operational issue”.

He said, “You must have seen that the letter was not signed by me. It is an operational issue. If it is an operational issue, leaking it is an offence. It is a punishable offence.

Reacting to the exercise, the Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Peter Akpatason, said it was a routine process by the security and intelligence agencies.

When asked about the possibility of clamping down on targeted persons, the legislator said, “I do not think it is targeted at any particular person. It is a routine thing they are doing and they have the right to do it.”

However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, criticised the NFIU’s directive to the banks. He stated that it is purely invasion of privacy.

According to Adeyeye, many of the senators were businessmen before they were elected to the red chambers, he argued that the NFIU knows where to go to find out the earnings of lawmakers and not their bank.

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