More facts emerged on Sunday on how a former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Sunday Ehindero, and a former Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Obaniyi, fraudulently embezzled police funds.
Investigations show that while serving as the IGP, Ehindero had collected the sum of N500m as donations from then Governor of Beyelsa State, who is now the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, to buy equipment for the Nigeria Police Force.
Ehindero, with the connivance of Obaniyi, split the money into two, paying the sum of N300m into Wema Account and N200m into the defunct Intercontinental Bank. Both deposits were fixed.
On July 4, 2006, Obaniyi, who was then the CP (Budget) at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, wrote a letter to the Managing Director of Wema Bank at Cental Business Area, with the reference number CV.1929/PB/FHQ/ABJ/Vol.6/408.
Obaniyi, under the headline, “Investment” wrote, “The Inspector-General of Police has approved the placement of the sum of three hundred million naira (N300,000,000.00) only in your bank for 90 days.
“I attach herewith First Bank of Nigeria Plc cheque No 01111782 dated 4th July, 2006 for the sum of three hundred million naira (N300,000,000) only for investment at 10% interest rate.
“Acknowledge receipt, please.”
On July 10, 2006, the bank, in a letter signed by Modupe Bakre (Unit Head) and Femi Feyide (Regional Manager, North) acknowledged receipt of the placement and thanked the IGP for the deposit.
The bank, in another letter signed by the duo of Bakre and Feyide to Obaniyi on October 16, 2006, informed him about the maturity of the deposit but also said the deposit had been rolled-over.
However, Obaniyi wrote back on November 8, 2006 that the investment should be terminated, adding that
“It will be appreciated if a draft of the three hundred million naira is raised in favour of ‘Inspector General of Police’ and made available to this office, please.”
The request was honoured on November 9.
Before then, on October 13, 2006, Obaniyi wrote another letter to the bank asking for the 10% interest on the investment to be made available in cash for operational expenses.
The bank agreed and sent the cash of N7, 377,260.27(Seven million, three hundred and seventy seven thousand and sixty naira, twenty seven kobo) “being the accrued interest” on the placement for 90 days.
Apart from this, he also got another N2, 465, 753.42 for extra 30 days that the money was with the bank as shown in the letter sent to Obaniyi by the bank’s Business Manager, Jide Bello.
At Intercontinental Bank where the sum of N200m was fixed, Obaniyi paid in the sum via a First Bank of Nig. Plc cheque number 01111788 “dated 10th July, 2006.”
The bank also acknowledged the receipt in a letter signed by Anuli Nwangeneh (Relationship Officer, Public Sector) and Kemi Adedoyin (Relationship Manager, Public Sector).
On the same October 13 that Obaniyi wrote to Wema Bank asking for 10% interest in cash on the investment there as operational expenses, he also wrote to demand of Intercontinental that since the money there had matured a day earlier, “It will be appreciated if the 10% interest on the investment can be made available in cash for operational expenses urgently, please.” It was the same language used in the letter to Wema.
Perhaps, knowing that something was fishy in the demand for the payment of cash by Obaniyi, the duo of Nwageneh and Adedoyin wrote to the Executive Management of the bank, asking for permission to pay cash, which they said was against the normal practice “since the normal practice is that the interest accrued on the deposit should be issued to the Nigeria Police using our Manager’s cheque since the account with us is a fixed deposit account and not operations account.
“We hereby seek your approval to pay cash of N4,986,301.37 being the interest on N200m at 10 % for 91 days.”
The approval was granted with an instruction that “the CP budget acknowledges the payment.”
At the end of the day, Obaniyi, who was the sole signatory to the said account into which the N200m was deposited, was issued a cash (open) cheque on 19th October, 2006 for the interest.
On 8th November, 2006, Obaniyi wrote to the bank informing its management about the termination of the investment. He, therefore, demanded that “it will be appreciated if a draft for the two hundred million naira is raised in favour of ‘Inspector General of Police’ and made available to this office, please.”
The following day, the bank replied him via a letter written by Tunde Bajela (Group Executive, Public Sector) and Jimi Shotunde (Group Executive, FCT &North Central) by raising the cheque for the amount.
Now, Ehindero is being asked to explain the whereabouts of the funds and the interests that accrued to it. An Abuja High Court had already ordered the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to arraign both Ehindero and Obaniyifor money laundering to the tune of N557 million.
Obaniyi had been dismissed from the Force over corruption by the Police Service Commission when he tried in vain to smuggle large sum money running into hundreds of millions from Force Headquarters immediately Ehindero was retired.