By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi
For the fourth time in 2017, acting on a tip-off from a whistle blower, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has intercepted money in various currencies, at a Bureau de Change, at the popular Balogun market, on Lagos Island.
The monies were allegedly being moved, preparatory to being converted to Naira.
The whistle blower, led EFCC operatives to confiscate €547,730 and £21,090 as well as N5,648,500.
EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said “the total haul is about N250 million, at the prevailing exchange rate at the parallel market.
“The intercept followed information that about N250 million cash was being moved somewhere in the market, for conversion into foreign currencies by unnamed persons. Operatives responded timely, met the money in the Bureau de Change office, but a large chunk of it had been converted into Euros and pounds sterling.
“The BDC operators found in possession of the monies claimed they were acting on behalf of their boss, who sent the money to them, from one of the Northern states. Two persons apprehended in the course of the raid are helping the Commission in its investigation.”
Few weeks ago, the EFCC recovered $9.8 million cash from a house owned by former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Andrew Yakubu.
The discovery was made on February 3, 2017, in a building located in the slums of Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna State.
Yakubu subsequently confessed the money was his and that it was given to him by unnamed persons.
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, EFCC operatives intercepted bags containing N49 million cash at Kaduna International Airport.
Kaduna airport became the alternative point for flights scheduled for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, due to planned repair works. Although the owner of the cash has not been named, reports indicate the money was intercepted, based on intelligence reports.
Last weekend, the EFCC also uncovered N448, 850, 000, in a shop at LEGICO Shopping Plaza, in Victoria Island, Lagos.
A statement by the EFCC on Friday evening, said “operatives of the Commission, acting on a tip-off by a concerned whistle-blower, swooped on the shopping complex and sought the identity of the owners of two shops, LS 64 and LS 67, which were under lock and key.
“The shops had signages of a Bureau de Change. Inquiries about the owner of shop 64 indicated that he had not been seen for a long time, as neighbours claimed the shop had not been opened for business for close to two years.
“Several calls were put to the owner of shop 67, but, there was no response.
“The attention of the plaza’s chairman and some traders were drawn, in order to force the shops open.
“There was no money found in shop 67, but, in shop 64, heaps of Ghana-Must-Go bags were found loaded on the floor of the shop. When the bags were unzipped, they were found to contain bundles of naira notes totalling N448, 850, 000.
“Traders interviewed at the premises claimed they were not aware that such money was housed inside the shop, as the place hardly opens for business.’’
The statement said the money was stashed in several Ghana-Must-Go bags, in N500 and N1000 denominations, hidden in the shop, awaiting conversion into foreign currency.
It added that the Commission was investigating the matter, in order to unravel the ownership and source of the funds.