$43m Ikoyi cash: Wife of NIA boss, Ayo Oke, paid $1.658m for flat

$43m Cash found in Ikoyi home
$43m Cash found in Ikoyi home

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has disclosed how the flat where a huge sum of money was recently discovered in Ikoyi, Lagos was acquired.

In court processes filed on Friday at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, the EFCC named one Mrs. Folashade Oke as the one whose company purchased the controversial Flat 7B, located at No. 13, Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where the anti-graft commission recovered  $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000.

The anti-graft commission also told a the Federal High Court that Mrs Oke, the wife of the suspended National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director General, Ayo Oke paid the sum of  $1.658m for the purchase of the flat between August 25 and September 3, 2015.

According to the EFCC, the property was bought in the name of a company, Chobe Ventures Limited, to which Mrs Oke and her son, Master Ayodele Oke Junior, were directors, using a company, Fine and Country Limited to pay for the apartment.

Mrs Oke, it was alleged, made the cash payment of $700,000, $650,000 and $353,700 to a Bureau de Change company, Sulah Petroleum and Gas Limited, which later converted the sums into N360,000,000 and subsequently paid it to Fine and Country Limited for the purchase of the property.

The anti graft Commission on Friday tendered the receipt issued by Fine and Country Limited to Chobe Ventures Limited as exhibit before the  Court.

Specifically, EFCC is seeking an order of final forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.

“The circumstances leading to the discovery of the huge sums stockpiled in Flat 7B, Osborne Towers leaves no one in doubt that the act was pursuant to an unlawful activity.

“The very act of making cash payment of $1.6m without going through any financial institution by Mrs. Folashade Oke for the acquisition of Flat 7B, Osborne Towers, is a criminal act punishable by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act. I refer My Lord to sections 1(a), 16(d) and 16(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act,” Rotimi Oyedepo, an EFCC Prosecutor, told the court.

According to an affidavit filed before the court, EFCC maintained that Chobe Ventures Limited is not into any business but was merely incorporated to retain proceeds of suspected unlawful activities of Mrs Oke.

Oyedepo further told the court that despite the newspaper advertisement of the initial order of April 13, 2017 temporarily forfeiting the money to the Federal Government, no one showed up in court on Friday to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

However, a source close to the NIA told Saturday Tribune that there was nothing unusual in the procedure reported to the court  by the EFCC, describing the use of Mrs Oke’s company to buy the property as the standard way of covering security acts.

The source explained that when security agencies acquire properties using proxies, the proxies normally immediately transfer the ownership of the property to the agencies. The aim, the source said,  is not to blow the cover to the seller.

“The property in question procured through a proxy company is legally owned by the NIA with relevant documents.

“If one uses normal civil procedure for security duties then nothing will work. The details EFCC has given is the normal security ways of doing things. There must be a cover story for all acts. It is normal to use proxies for classified  actions. In most cases, the proxies are not even aware of the full details of the assignment they are embarking on.  Intelligence agencies use fronts for actions,” the source told Saturday Tribune.

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