Tony Osauzo, Benin
Edo State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Osaze Osemwingie-Ero, has been arrested by operatives of the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) for alleged money laundering.
The commissioner, who is said to have been detained and interrogated by INTERPOL, was reportedly arrested in France since last month for being in possession of $2 million.
Political opponents claimed the money was given to him by Governor Godwin Obaseki as he was accompanying the governor on a foreign trip, but another source said the commissioner was being questioned for an offence he committed seven years ago.
A top government official, who pleaded anonymity, said the state government was aware about the questioning of Osemwingie-Ero by Interpol for an offence he committed before he was appointed by Obaseki.
On the sum of $2 million 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 yesterday, said the alleged arrest of Osemwingie-Ero has nothing to do with Obaseki.
Special Adviser to 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. Osaze Osemwingie-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 Obaseki,” the statement said.