Wednesday 20 December 2017

Ikoyi cash: More sanctions coming for culprits, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said the persons behind the large sums of foreign and local currencies recovered in April by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in a residential apartment at the Osborne Towers, Lagos would be sanctioned.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja while receiving the report of a panel established to review the operational, technical and administrative structure of the National Intelligence Agency.

Buhari had suspended and subsequently sacked Ambassador Ayo Oke as the Director General of the NIA in connection with the discovery of the money, which the agency laid claim to.

His sacking was based on the recommendation of the Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee, which investigated the matter.

Adesina quoted Buhari as describing the discovery of the money as an “unfortunate incident which rightly aroused public interest and outcry.”

The President added, “All the circumstances surrounding the obtaining, keeping custody and disbursement of the funds have been examined by the Vice President’s Committee and all those found to be culpable will be made to account and appropriately sanctioned.

“However, it must be understood that this cannot be done in a manner that jeopardises national security or exposes the operations of any intelligence agency, which must, by nature be conducted in secrecy.

“Suffice it for me to assure all that justice will be done, consistent with our anti-corruption policies.”

The President, while commending the Presidential Review Panel on the NIA, led by a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, for completing their assignment expeditiously, expressed the hope that the recommendations of the panel and that of an earlier committee headed by the Vice-President to look into the Osborne matter would assist the government in improving on the operations of the NIA and national security.

“Your panel’s recommendation, informed as they are by your collective experience and expertise in this field, should in particular help to reposition the NIA to better perform its vital functions with greater professionalism.

“The Osborne Tower incident and its aftermath has also brought to the fore the need to review the entire national security architecture, which has now been in operation as established 31 years ago.

‘‘Once again, I thank you very much for undertaking this national assignment,” he said.

Osinbajo was present at the presentation of the report by the panel, which has Chief Albert Horsfall, Ambassador Zakari Ibrahim and Ambassador Ezekiel Oladeji as members.

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