Aviation fraud: EFCC arrests Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria level 6 officer for diverting N70m

EFCC witness tells court alleged fraudster’s statements were not obtained under duress

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday wade in and arrested a level 6 officer, of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Christy Olabode, for allegedly diverting and stealing N70 million belonging to the agency.

This is just as FAAN said that it has suspended Olabode, the staff of the agency involved in alleged diversion of funds from the agency for private use along with those indicted.

Olabode, who work in the Accounts Department of FAAN was alleged to have diverted the money between 2013 and 2016.

It was also alleged the suspect used names to regularly carry out the diversion, which has stunned majority of the agency staff when the news broke.

Sources close to the agency informed that the Olabode was uncovered by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Department in July and that when it was unraveled, she queried but refused to answer the query.

The source added that Olabode refused to answer the query because she has the backing of some powerful persons from above.

The source said that because of that Olabode redeploy from the computer room of the Accounts Department to same department but in different section.

Olabode was alleged  to  have  in August  2013 diverted funds  the sum of N2,719,699.92,which  was lodged into an Eco Bank  with Account Number 2501016701, with the name of Paul Amaechi Ihedinihu, a level 14 officer.

Still in December of 2013, Olabode also made a deposit of  N2,719,699.92  into account number, 0059963039, with the  name of Bright E. Ogbonna at Access Bank.

While N2, 719,699.92 was allegedly deposited in the name of Yahyah A. Sadiq in a Guaranty Trust Bank 0035237900.

Other deposits made by the suspect with names include: N1, 493,903.52 into another Guaranty Trust Bank account, 0113269817, in the name of Yunus Olaniyan  Agboola. Ms. Olabode also funneled N2, 184,168.96 into a Diamond Bank account, 0031963629, in the name of Adamu Sanusi.

 

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Other names used in the extensive scam included Hurso Muhammed Hurso, Nnamdi T. Onuchukwu, Haruna Umar, John Uwabuafia Ofodu, Godday Otunaya, Isaac Joel Okwodu, Blessing Inye Pepple, Habibu Abubakar Adamu, and Emmanual Gloria Ewoh.

Other banks where the illegal deposits were lodged are Oceanic Bank, Fidelity Bank, First City Monument Bank and First Bank.

FAAN in a statement by agency said that the management of FAAN has suspended a staff of the agency involved in alleged diversion of funds from the agency for private use along with those indicted.

According to FAAN, the accused was said to have diverted the agency’s funds into different accounts of staff and others over certain period of time until they were discovered by the management.

The agency added that upon discovery, the management set up a committee, which investigated the major suspect, who promptly named others involved in the fraud and they were swiftly suspended.

According to FAAN, “It was when the committee drilled the main suspect who confessed that some of the monies were sent to her brother’s accounts that prompted the management to further invite more suspects who were subsequently suspended. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives who got wind of the matter decided to investigate it and have detained the prime suspects.

FAAN stated that it had also concluded plans to set up audit team to further investigate financial transaction in the department.

It added the objective of the audit is to carry out investigation on the activities of the personnel in the accounts and commercial departments, to close all loopholes on the sources of revenues and to ensure that all revenues are captured and accounted for.

FAAN said that after the audit it would further mondernise its accounting system, explore new ways to boost revenues and also to continuously monitor activities of its personnel involved in revenue generation and accounting.

It expressed the hope that EFCC would unravel the details of the fraud, punish those involved and also work with management to forestall such from happening again.

The agency stated that it was laden with huge responsibility to effectively manage the airports, fund the rehabilitation of many airport terminals and also complete ongoing work at some of the airport facilities under construction, so it needs more funds to effectively manage the airports.

It also said it was committed to the welfare of its workforce, to pay the workers when their salaries and allowances are due and to continue to improve on their welfare.

FAAN said it would adopt a policy of rotating its personnel in the accounts and commercial departments every two years after the audit.

According to FAAN, “No person would stay in one unit for more than that period of time”, noting that people think of perpetrating fraud and all kinds of malfeasance when they stay too long in one post.

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