Nigeria Politics

Nigeria anti-graft body intercepts $2.8m cash at airport, two men arrested

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has intercepted $2.8 million (about N1.02 billion) cash at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from two people suspected to be money launderers.

The EFCC said its zonal office in Enugu had seized the money from two men suspected to be money launderers at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.

An EFCC statement read in part: “The suspects, namely Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, allegedly working for a company: Bankers Warehouse, were nabbed based on intelligence report.

“Upon their arrests, they were caught with consignments of two suitcases, containing $1.4 million each, totaling $2.8 million, at the departure lounge of the airport while about to board an Arik Air evening flight to Lagos.”

“During interrogation, the suspects confessed that they have been in the business of conveying cash for ‘some notable banks’ for over six years and were in the process of doing same for Union Bank Plc located at New Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, when they were caught.

“The suspects further confessed that they had so far carried out such assignments, ‘four times this year.’

“They are presently giving useful information to operatives of the Commission and will be charged to court soon.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has started tracking some politically exposed persons (PEPs) who are trying to repatriate slush funds through Ghana, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

A top source in the anti-graft agency, who spoke in confidence, said: “We are really monitoring campaign finances. Some desperate ones, especially politically exposed persons who looted public resources in the past, are trying to repatriate the funds for campaign. Our interest is in recovering the looted cash.

“Some donors, who have been on our watch-list as suspected money launderers, are also being tracked. We want to reduce corruption and the use of public funds to fund political parties and finance elections.

“Based on intelligence, some of these politically exposed persons are trying to use Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Ghana as transit routes.

“We will try to bring these criminal politicians to book in line with the relevant laws.”

It is not the first time the body is making such interceptions of forex denominated notes. A similar operation in 2017 led to discovery of about $43 million in an apartment, which issue led to the dismissal of the country’s spy chief.

The EFCC seized over $625,000 cash in a popular market in the commercial capital Lagos in April 2017. In February, they had seized $9.8m cash in a house in the northern Kaduna State.

This year, Customs officials also intercepted a man who attempted flying out of the country with over $375,000. He was handed over to the EFCC. Then in April, EFCC nabbed a man with 400,000 fake dollar bills.



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