The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started questioning a former military administrator on how he came about the N4billion in Abuja with which he built a four-star hotel in Abuja that was later sold to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Also invited by the anti-graft agency are all those connected with the transaction between the ex-MILAD and the embattled ex-Minister.
The Nation reports authoritatively last night that the hotel could be seized by the EFCC.
The ex-MILAD is also said to have been implicated in a $318m mono-rail project in Rivers State.
Investigation revealed that EFCC investigators, after examining the ex-MILAD’s accounts, are now seeking details of the offices held by the retired Brigadier-General, his pay slips, retirement benefits and accruing pensions.
The investigation of the ex-MILAD may extend to his stakes in some high net worth companies including one of the firms involved in a $318m rail project.
A top source familiar with the probe said: “Apart from establishing the purchase deal, we are looking into the accounts and business activities of the former MILAD, who retired as a Brigadier-General. We want to establish how he came about the N4billion hotel and whether or not he is a business front for some political office holders.
“We are in touch with the army authorities to seek the details of the offices held by the former Brigadier-General, his pay slips and retirement benefits and accruing pensions. We want to trace his records.
“We have just discovered that he was allegedly involved in a $318million rail project in Rivers State. This dimension is expanding the scope of our ongoing investigation of the ex-MILAD.
“At a point, the former MILAD was linked to botched plans to buy Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar. You can see that we have his dossiers.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “So far, we have invited all those connected with the hotel deal between the ex-MILAD and Diezani for interrogation. Some of them include bankers and estate agents.
“One crucial aspect of the investigation of Diezani’s hotel deal is that there were elements of e-transactions when the hotel was bought. We can easily trace all the links.”
The source said after diligent investigation, the EFCC might seize the hotel in line with the Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause in EFCC Act.
Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.
“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’
Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.
“Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”
The National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK arrested and quizzed Diezani and four others on October 2, 2015 for alleged bribery and corruption and money laundering.
The EFCC is understood to have also quizzed three to five more suspects since the interrogation of Diezani by the NCA.
NCA last year obtained permission from a Westminster Magistrate’s Court to seize 27,000 pounds from Diezani and two other women.