Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism Mr Osaze Osemwegie Ero has been arrested by operatives of INTERPOL for alleged money laundering, sources say.
The Commissioner, who is said to have been detained and interrogated by INTERPOL, was reportedly arrested in France last month for being in possession of $2 million.
Political opponents claimed the money was given to him by Governor Godwin Obaseki as Osemwegie Ero was accompanying the Governor on a foreign trip. Another source, however, said the Commissioner was being questioned for an offence he committed seven years ago.
A top government official who pleaded anonymity said that the state government is aware of the questioning of Osemwegie Ero by INTERPOL for an offence he committed before he was appointed by Governor Obaseki.
On the sum of $2 million purportedly found on the Commissioner, the source said it was yet to be confirmed whether any money was found on him.
Meanwhile, the Edo State Government in its reaction said the alleged arrest of Osemwegie Ero has nothing to do with Governor Obaseki.
Special Adviser to Governor Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy Mr Crusoe Osagie, in a statement, said the state government could not confirm the alleged arrest of the Commissioner.
“We learnt about the alleged arrest of the Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Commissioner, Hon. Osemwegie Ero from unreliable sources on social media, and we are unable to confirm either the alleged arrest or what might have led to it.
“But we can confirm without equivocation that whatever the issues might be, they are totally personal and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Edo State Government or Governor Godwin Obaseki,” the statement said.