The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has taken charge of the bank accounts operated by the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, the latest in a string of measures against the agency in the wake of last month’s discovery of N13 billion in a Lagos apartment, according to online portal, Premium Times.
The cash – comprising $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million hidden inside Apartment 7B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi – was uncovered by operatives of the EFCC on April 12.
Security sources told Premium Times on Friday that operatives of the anti-graft agency compelled the Director of Finance and Administration of the NIA to hand over the accounts of the beleaguered agency to an Army officer attached to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The EFCC designated a brigadier general in the Nigerian Army, to assume the position of the Director of Finance of the NIA and commence a holistic audit of the agency’s finances.
The development was the climax of a week-long prying operation which saw detectives from the anti-graft agency grill four senior officials of the NIA. Several sources told the online portal that last week, the NSA made at least two attempts to impose the Army officer on the NIA as its new Director of Finance, but officials of the agency were said to have blocked him from resuming each time he attempted to do so.
Following the Army officer’s rejection, the EFCC was said to have invited NIA’s Director of Finance and Administration and two officials from the same account department but were later released after hours of questioning.
The anti-graft operatives also reportedly visited the NIA headquarters to interrogate some officials during the week. On Friday, the EFCC invited NIA’s Director of Finance and Administration and detained him for several hours.
According to Premium Times, the anti-graft detectives later took him back to the NIA headquarters where he was compelled to hand over to the Army officer. Although the new measures are in furtherance of the EFCC’s investigations of the N13 billion Ikoyi money, security officials have questioned their legality, given the special status accorded the NIA by the National Security Agencies Act of 2004, prohibiting interference in its financial dealings.