The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused Hajiya Bola Shagaya, a businesswoman and socialite, of frustrating its efforts to conclude its investigation into a “suspicious” Unity Bank account with a balance of N1,902,673,399.93.
The anti-graft agency said it invited Shagaya but she refused to honour the invitation.
Her refusal to show up made the commission “unable to conclude investigation and file a charge against her”.
Oghare Ogbole, a female operative of the EFCC, stated this in a counter-affidavit which the anti-graft agency filed to oppose a suit filed by Shagaya to challenge the freezing of the Unity Bank account.
The EFCC had placed a ‘No Debit Order’ on the account, following an interim order given by Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on December 29, 2016.
The businesswoman, however, filed an application, urging the judge to lift the freezing order, saying she was not given fair hearing before her account was frozen.
The EFCC opposed her, insisting that the freezing order was lawfully obtained.
The anti-graft agency claimed that the N1.9billion found in the Unity Bank account was the balance of a total of N3,305,150,000, which Shagaya received as “founder fees” on behalf of an organisation, ‘Women for Change’, spearheaded by Patience Jonathan, a former First Lady.
The EFCC claimed that the N3.3billion was realised through Shagaya’s “fraudulent activities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,” where she allegedly “influenced the fraudulent allocation of Dual Purpose Kerosene to Index Petrolube Africa Ltd., with the aid of the former First Lady, Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan”.
According to the EFCC, the N3.3billion was paid by Index Petrolube Africa Ltd. and its sister company, Autodex Nigeria Limited. The two companies, it said, belong to one Honourable Ezeani ThankGod, adding that the reason for the N3.3billion payment was to “fraudulently facilitate Dual Purpose Kerosene to ThankGod’s company, Index Petrolube Africa Ltd”.
The anti-graft agency claimed that out of the N3.3billion, Shagaya had “paid a cumulative sum of N1,212,000,000 to the former First Lady, Mrs Dame Patience Jonathan, through her ‘Women for Change Initiative’ account domiciled in Diamond Bank, to which the former First Lady is the sole signatory”.
It said after paying N1.2billion to Mrs. Jonathan, Shagaya kept the balance of N1.9billion for herself by “warehousing” same in her personal bank account in Unity Bank.
The EFCC said it was on this basis that it secured an order by Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on December 29, 2016, to freeze the account.
It said Shagaya would have been charged to court, but she had not honoured its invitation to enable it conclude its investigation.