Crime

EFCC searches Jonathan cousin’s office over alleged $40m fraud

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday searched the entire premises of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Limited in Otakeme, Bayesla State.

Kakatar Construction and Engineering Limited belongs to Robert Azibaola, a cousin of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who is standing trial before a Federal High Court in Abuja for allegedly receiving a shady $40m contract from the Office of the National Security Adviser under the leadership of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

The spokesman for the firm, Mr. Austin Ekeinde, in a statement on Thursday, lamented that some containers, machines and portions of the buildings were damaged during the raid.

He said, “At about 3pm on April 13, 2017, EFCC operatives invaded Kakatar premises in Otakeme in Bayelsa State and vandalise containers, equipment and machines and damaged our buildings in the process.

“Kakatar premises in Otakeme houses our construction equipment, machines and residential buildings and it is not for the storage of cash or any other material.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, told our correspondent that indeed detectives visited the firm to conduct a search.

He, however, denied the allegation that properties were damaged.

He said, “Some of our operatives visited the firm to conduct a search but no property was damaged in the process.”

The EFCC had commenced investigating Azibaola last year sequel to a list sent to the commission by a committee set up by the Federal Government to probe contracts awarded by the ONSA from 2011 to 2015 which indicted more than 300 companies and prominent citizens, including serving and retired officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Azibaola allegedly diverted $40m public funds through Oneplus Holdings, a sister company of his other company, Kakatar Construction and Engineering Company Limited.

The ex-President’s cousin had, however, said the contract was transparent, adding that the Federal Government still owed him $4m as the balance of the contract sum for successfully securing oil pipelines which saw Nigeria reap billions of dollars from increased oil production.

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