Oke, Wife’s Whereabouts Unknown

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  could not proceed yesterday with its planned arraignment of former National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Ambassador Ayodele Oke and his wife Folasade were absent at the Federal High Court in Lagos as the whereabouts of the couple was unknown.

They were to appear before  Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, although the case was not formally listed for the day. The court was said have been informed that Oke and wife would not be present as they were not in EFCC’s custody, hence the non-listing of the charge. Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, was in court to arrange for a new date for arraignment.

It was learnt that the arraignment will now take place on Wednesday, February 6. Unconfirmed reports said they might have left the country.

An EFCC’s spokesman in Lagos, Babatunde Suleiman, confirmed that the case was not listed. He, however, said he was unaware of the whereabouts of Oke and his wife.  Asked about reports that they might have travelled out of the country and whether they were ever in EFCC’s custody, he said: “I can’t comment on their whereabouts, please. But I will get back to you on this.” Oke and his wife were charged in connection with the $43, 449, 947, 000 found in Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos. Justice Muslim Hassan had on June 6, 2017, granted a final forfeiture order of the funds since no one appeared before the court to claim them.

The four-count charge against the couple was signed by Oyedepo, Nnaemeka Omewa and Idris Abubakar Mohammed. EFCC, in the Proof of Evidence, revealed how Flat 7B was bought for $1, 658,000 (N596, 880,000). It said one Alhaji Shehu Usman Anka will give evidence of the receipt of the sum of $1, 658,000 from the wife of the ex-NIA boss. The anti-graft agency also said that the agency got about $289, 202, 382.00 from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It added that one Benjamin Kiksenenso will give evidence of how he was instructed to go to the CBN to collect the $289, 202, 382.00.

The charges against the ex-NIA boss are: “That you, Amb.  Ayodele Oke, Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke on or about the 12th day of April 2017 in Lagos concealed the sum of $43, 449, 947, 000 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria in Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

•The $43m Ikoyi cash

“That you Amb. Ayodele Oke and Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke between 25th day of August 2015 and 2nd day of September 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court, indirectly used the sum of $1, 658, 000 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria to acquire Flat 7B, No. 16 Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you Amb. Ayodele Oke and Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke between 25th day of August 2015 and 2nd day of September 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court directly retained $160, 777, 136. 85 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you Amb. Ayodele Oke and Mrs. Folasade Ayodele Oke between 25th day of August 2015 and 2nd day of September 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court directly converted $160, 777, 136. 85 property of the Federal Government of Nigeria to your own use which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: criminal breach of trust and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

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