The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has washed its hands of the controversial N15 billion Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos cash haul.
CBN spokesman Isaac Okorafor revealed that the apex bank did not know the source of the money.
Okorafor said the CBN issues serial currencies to banks which are at liberty to give such currencies to their clients.
“I do not know the source of the money; we (CBN) only issue currencies to banks which then transmit the currencies to their customers,” Okorafor said.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), acting on a tip-off on Wednesday, stormed an apartment at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi Lagos where they found $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 stacked inside a fireproof safe.
The discovery has generated controversies over who the owner of the fund is as well as the owner of the apartment where it was found.
The Nation reported on Monday that “when the EFCC began the investigation of some Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), it traced the movement of the cash to NIA account. Instead of seeking explanation from the Director-General of NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke, the EFCC wrote directly to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to demand the details of the transactions on the said account.
“In fact, the documents obtained from CBN included other sensitive operations and overhead. The NIA took exception to it. When President Muhammadu Buhari intervened, he saw all the records that neither NIA DG nor any staff benefited from the said funds.”
There have been questions on the money. Why did NIA not share intelligence about the money with other agencies? If the cash was for operations two years ago, why was it lying idle in the apartment? Shouldn’t the huge cash have been kept at the Central Bank?
President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have asked the EFCC and the NIA to file briefs on the discovery to the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike accused his predecessor Rotimi Amaechi of being the owner of the money, saying it was part of the proceeds of the state’s turbines, which were sold. He threatened to launch a legal battle to secure the cash and urged residents to pray for its return.
Amaechi denied owning the money and the apartment in which it was recovered. He has threatened to sue those who linked him to the matter.