A former director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( (NNPC) Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, who was rumoured to own a stash of local and foreign cash found in an Ikoyi apartment has said the money is not hers.
It has been speculated that the residence where the stash was found allegedly belongs to Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue, though the name of the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), Alhaji Adamu Muazu, has also been thrown up since he is allegedly the actual owner of the luxury apartments.
But in a statement through the law firm representing her, EMEKA ETIABA & CO, ETIABA CHAMBERS, the firm said:
“The attention of Our Client, Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue has been drawn to the news making round in the News Media to the effect that the large sums of money to wit: $38,000,000.00 (Thirty-Eight Million Dollars),N23,000,000.00 (Twenty-Three Million Naira) and £27,000.00 (Twenty-Seven Thousand Pounds) uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) from an apartment in Osborne Towers, Osborne Road, Ikoyi Lagos, Lagos State belong to her.
“By this Press Release, we inform the public (especially the News Media) that the said sums of money and/or the apartment where the sums of money were found do not belong to Our Client.
“Our Client is as shocked as many other Nigerians at the uncovering and recovery of the said sums of money and wishes to salute the courage and efforts of the EFCC in the war against corruption.
“She also wishes to commend the whistle blowing policy introduced by the Federal Government in the fight against corruption which policy has resulted in large scale uncovering and recovery of monies and assets.
“It is Our Client’s belief that the source and ownership of the said uncovered sums of money is known or eventually will be known by the EFCC in due course. There is therefore no need for conjecture or speculation.
“May we finally implore the News Media to be more circumspect in their publications.”
It was not clear Thursday what she meant by “the source and ownership of the said uncovered sums of money is known or eventually will be known by the EFCC in due course,” but an analyst suggested that “someone may co-operate with the EFCC soon to exonerate her.”
Earlier, the EFCC had said in a statement:
“The whistle blowing policy of the Federal Government is paying off positively as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission today stormed a residential building in the 7th Floor of a four – bedroom apartment at Osborne Towers located at 16, Osborne road Ikoyi, Lagos, where a humongous find of foreign currencies and Naira notes to the tune of $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m was uncovered.
“The operation followed a whistle blower’s confidential alert received by the Commission’s Lagos office this morning regarding some noticed suspicious movement of bags in and out of a particular apartment in the building. According to the source, the movers of the bags, make believe that they bring in bags of clothes.
“Another source who is conversant with the apartment of interest indicated that some woman usually appeared on different occasion with Ghana Must Go bags. “She comes looking haggard, with dirty clothes but her skin didn’t quite match her outward appearance, perhaps a disguise”, the source said.
“On getting to the building, operatives met the entrance door locked. Inquiries from the guards at the gate explained that nobody resides in the apartment, but some persons come in and out once in a while. In compliance with the magisterial order contained in the warrant, the EFCC used minimum force to gain entrance into the apartment.
“Monies were found in two of the four bedroom apartment. Further probe of the wardrobe by operatives in one of the rooms, was found to be warehousing three fire proof cabinets disguisedly hidden behind wooden panels of the wardrobe. Upon assessing the content of the cabinets, neatly arranged US Dollars, Pound Sterling and some Naira notes in sealed wrappers.
“Preliminary findings indicate that the funds are suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.
“The facility is said to be owned by Osborne Towers Resident Association.
Investigations are ongoing.”