By Uche Amunike
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has effected former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank PLC, Nnamdi Okonkwo’s release after being arrested and drilled over the alleged discovery of an extra $72.87m that is linked to the former Minister of Petroleum resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, found in the coffers of the bank.
As part of the present investigation of the former Minister, Diezani, Okonkwo was arrested and thoroughly interrogated by operatives of the anti- graft commission over the latest discovery in the bank.
Recall that Okonkwo, as the Chairman, First Bank Holding had earlier been interrogated, alongside Charles Onyedibe over $153m and another $115million dollars by the Commission.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, announced that Nnamdi Okonkwo’s release by the agency was simply on administrative bail, last night.
While all the $153 million were recovered by the EFCC, the cases involving $115million, as it relates with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, bribery matter, are in various courts.
“Okonkwo and Charles Onyedibe are currently being detained by the EFCC over the whereabouts of the new $72.8m”, Uwujaren stated.
Recall that this was disclosed by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren in a statement, shortly after the arrest Wednesday, titled ‘Diezani: EFCC Uncovers Additional $72.87m in Fidelity Bank’.
The statement said: ‘Okonkwo, who is currently the Chairman of First Bank Holding, alongside others, had earlier been grilled over a sum of $153m and $115m by the commission’.
‘Okonkwo and Charles Onyedibe are currently being detained by the EFCC over the whereabouts of the new $72.87m.’
The statement maintained that Nnamdi Okonkwo was arrested because the money found in the coffers of the bank is allegedly part of the proceeds of corruption linked to the former Minister, Diezani.
Recall that in November the Court of Appeal in Lagos dismissed the appeal by the embattled Diezani, where she moved that jewelry worth N40m dollars is not forfeited to the Nigerian Government.
Unfortunately the appeal Court held that her bid to overturn the order of the of a lower Court had no substance, thereby, affirming the 2019 judgement of Justice Nicholas away of the federal high Court which affected the jewelry following and application by the
Judgement was given by the Appeal court, in an appeal filed by Diezani and marked Appeal- No CA/L/1263/19 between the EFCC and Diezani Allison -Madueke.
In July 2019 the anti-graft agency secured an order of the high Court which temporarily forfeited the expensive items to Nigerian government.
The schedule attached to the application indicated that the jewelry was categorised into 33 sets which included 74 expensive pendants; 189 expensive wrist watches; 419 expenses bangles; 304 expensive earrings; 315 expensive rings; 77 expensive brooches; 304 expensive earrings; 78 expensive bracelets and 174 expensive necklaces and earrings.
These were all seized from number 10 Frederick Chiluba Close, Asokoro Abuja where the former Minister used to live. On July 19 2019, however, Justice Oweibo granted the EFCC’s motion for final forfeiture of the jewelry.