Nigeria’s former intelligence head is now a wanted man

Anti corruption agents raided an apartment in Lagos in 2017 and found over $43 million
ayodele oke
A motorcycle taxi drives past the sign of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos, on October 3, 2016. – A Nigerian court has convicted four firms allegedly used by a former aide of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan to launder $15.5 million in suspected stolen funds. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in July frozen the accounts of the companies and seized $15.5 million (14 million euros) while investigating Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, Jonathan’s former domestic assistant, over money laundering. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria’s main anti-corruption body has declared a former spy chief wanted after a stash of more than $43 million in cash was found during a raid in an upscale apartment linked to him.

A court in Lagos last month issued an arrest warrant for Ayodele Oke, the former head of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and his wife after they failed to appear for trial. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said in a statement late Sunday the couple were now “wanted after they failed to answer for fraud charges filed against them”. 

EFCC agents raided an apartment on Osborne Road, in the Ikoyi area of Lagos in April 2017 and found $43,449,947 (38.3 million euros, £32.9 million).

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They also found £27,800 (nearly $37,000, 32,400 euros) and 23,218,000 naira ($64,300, 56,800 euros, £48,800).

The commission did not disclose the whereabouts of the suspects but local media said they could have fled Nigeria to evade trial. 

Nigeria in January filed corruption charges against the duo and senior civil servant Babachir Lawal, who is accused of awarding contracts in areas hit by Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency to companies in which he had a personal interest. 

Both Oke and Lawal were seen as close to President Muhammadu Buhari and how they are dealt with is being closely watched as a litmus test for the government’s anti-corruption crusade.

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Buhari, 76, was re-elected for another four-year term at elections last month.

He came to power in 2015 on a promise to tackle endemic corruption but he has been accused of a political witch-hunt as most people targeted are members of the main opposition.

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