– Banks accounts of the principal officers of the NASS are reportedly under investigation by NFIU
– Fehintola Salisu, the NFIU’s associate director, analysis and compliance, made this known in a statement issued on Friday, September 13
– The NFIU’s director, Modibbo Tukur, however, said he was not aware of the letter but stated that the banks could be punished for leaking the content of the letter
The accounts of the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege, the speaker of House Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his deputy, Idris Wase, are reportedly being investigated by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
PM reports that the started the NFIU has also as said that the principal officers and members of the National Assembly are being for alleged corruption.
Legit.ng gathered that the bank accounts of all judges in Nigeria, including the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, are also under investigation, adding that the bank accounts of other relevant politically exposed persons are also included.
It was gathered the NFIU has taken a giant step in their secret investigation and written to all banks in the country on Friday, September 13, to send them the banking information of the names under investigation.
The letter signed by the NFIU’s associate director, analysis and compliance, Fehintola Salisu, gave the banks up till Friday, September 13, to comply with the directive.
According to the online news media, the letter addressed to all chief compliance officers of the banks was tagged, Request for information on all accounts of: the National Assembly; all accounts of all the members of the National Judicial Council; all accounts of all the members of the National Assembly; accounts of principal officers (management) of National Assembly service commission and all accounts of principal officers of the judiciary.
The statement read: “Kindly provide the NFIU with a schedule (account names and account numbers) of the National Assembly, members of National Assembly and principal officers of National Assembly service commission, as well as all accounts of National Judicial Service Commission and their principal officers, including judges and other relevant politically exposed persons. Kindly note that your response is expected on or before September 13, 2019.”
The NFIU’s director, Modibbo Tukur, however, said he was not aware of the letter, but stated that the banks could be punished for leaking the content of the letter, which he described as an “operational issue.”
He said: “You must have seen that the letter was not signed by me. It is an operational issue. If it is an operational issue, leaking it is an offence. It is a punishable offence. If they are doing their analysis, it may not come to my knowledge. I will find out if you want me to do so.
“But the person you mentioned that signed the letter is an operational director. So anything she signs is confidential. I am even surprised at how the banks allowed it to leak. It is punishable.”
The online platform also reported that the deputy majority leader of the House of Representatives, Peter Akpatason, in his reaction, said it was a routine process by the security and intelligence agencies.
He said: “I am not aware (of it) but I think it is a routine thing that they do. I don’t think there is any big deal about it. It is a normal thing. Ideally, they should have the account details of business people, politicians and others.”
“I do not think it is targeted at any particular person. It is a routine thing they are doing and they have the right to do it.”
Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, the chairman, Senate committee on media and public affairs, however, criticised the NFIU’s directive to the banks, adding that it was purely invasion of privacy.
According to Adeyeye, many of the senators were businessmen before they were elected to the red chambers as he argued that the NFIU knows where to go to find out the earnings of lawmakers and not their bank.
He said: “The salary and emoluments of the lawmakers are being determined by an agency of government that is well known. They can find out what the senators earn from them.
“I don’t think it is right to ask banks to expose details of the accounts of each lawmaker because many of them are private businessmen and women until their election to the National Assembly. Publishing the accounts of the senators is purely an invasion of privacy,” he said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that the NFIU was independent of its control.
It was reported that the acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, said at an interactive session with editors in Abuja, that the ongoing efforts to create a “stand-alone’’ NFIU was needless.
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