Oladapo Oyebanji, better known by his stage name, D’banj, has been arrested and detained by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), according to reports.
On Tuesday, the artist was taken into custody when ICPC agents closed in on him, forcing him to turn himself in at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
According to sources close to the case, D’banj avoided appearing for questioning over fraud allegations for weeks by stating he was out of the country for performances.
The Nigerian pop musician stands accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of naira from the N-Power project, an empowerment initiative launched by the Nigerian government in 2016 to reduce youth unemployment and boost social development.
According to the investigation, D’banj and other corrupt government officials worked together to add fictitious “beneficiaries” to the scheme’s payroll. Once the money is disbursed to the recipients, it is traced back to the pop star’s name through the beneficiary’s bank account.
The ICPC threatened to have the artist arrested anywhere in Nigeria or overseas if he did not appear for questioning on Tuesday after he had ignored repeated requests to do so.
D’banj was arrested following an extensive questioning session upon his arrival. Officials denied the musician’s request for administrative bail, citing concerns that he wouldn’t appear for his trial if granted freedom.
On Wednesday, the ICPC may ask the court for more time to investigate the musician before filing charges.
Azuka Ogugua, the ICPC’s official spokeswoman, did not respond to requests for comment. It is believed that she is now participating in a programme in another country. The artist was also unable to comment due to his current location in jail.
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