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Barely 24 hours after his arrest, detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday grilled a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, on how he allegedly laundered over N13billion out of N58, 146,983,677.85 in the Ecological Fund account.
He was also asked to explain how the ecological cash ended up in the accounts of about 15 companies linked with him.
A third peg of the interrogation bordered on why Anyim collected N520million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the eve of the 2015 general elections.
The reasons for the payment of the N520million were described by investigators as “unclear” as at the time of filing this report.
According to findings, Anyim, who was described as sober in custody, was said to have used two of the 15 companies to make several transfers to 37 entities.
It was learnt that the EFCC opted to arrest the ex-SGF after he failed to respond to a letter of invitation from the agency.
It was gathered that Anyim, who was aware of the EFCC trail on him in the last one year, had banked on a political solution to his travails.
His sudden attendance of a dinner in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abakaliki on Tuesday was said to be one of the rapprochements he was banking on to stave off the EFCC’s arrest.
But top sources close to investigation, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, claimed that Anyim had a lot of garbage to clear based on his conduct in office.
One of the sources said Anyim, who was SGF from May 2011 to May 29, 2015, was under probe for alleged “false declaration of assets, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering”.
The source said: “We have been conducting a covert investigation of Anyim in the last two years based on the alleged diversion and laundering of ecological funds.
“After reaching an appreciable stage, we invited Anyim, but he refused to honour the 10am appointment given to him. We had no choice than to effect his arrest at about noon on Thursday.
“We executed a search warrant in his house and we were able to recover some documents relevant to the investigation.”
Asked to be specific on the allegations against Anyim, another source added: There was the wild disbursement of cash from the SGF Ecological Fund account when Anyim was in charge. Most of the beneficiaries of the cash had nothing to do with ecological contracts.
“For instance, from May 2012 to May 2015, the SGF Ecological Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria received an inflow of N58,146,983,677.85. From this fund, three of the companies linked to Anyim (Foundation Years, Obis Associate and Eldyke Engineering) received contracts worth over N13billion. Foundation Years alone received a net payment of N10,308,017,838.85 between 2014 and 2015.
“Curiously, on receiving the fund, Foundation Years and another Anyim’s company, Br-Kthru, made several transfers to 37 entities. Some of the organizations and individuals have no nexus at all with ecological issues. Investigators are probing the reasons behind the wild disbursement.
The source listed companies which Anyim allegedly used as fronts to “obtain contracts or laundered proceeds of the ecological funds contracts as Foundation Years Limited, Precious Integrated, Precious Petroleum, Mak & Mak, Chap Construction, Eldyke Engineering, Pryke Limited, Chipa Nigeria Limited, Prima A11 Limited, Pima International, Chanto Engineering, Ishiagu Microfinance Bank, Mulak Ventures, Vitro Engineering and Tip Top Nigeria.”
A third source said Anyim has cases to answer in connection with alleged “false assets declaration, receiving N520m from the Office of the National Security Adviser on the eve of the 2015 general elections for unclear reasons and using proxies and companies in which he had interest to corner contracts from the Ecological Fund.
“So far, he is looking sober in our facility, but we have asked him to give account of the N13billion curious payments/ withdrawals/ transfers from the Ecological Fund account. We have conducted searches on the 15 firms, identified their accounts.
“More amazing was the transfer of the N520million to Anyim by ONSA on the eve of the 2015 general elections. He needs to account for this cash too.
“We have other strands of investigation, including the Centenary Project, alleged cornering of NDDC projects by cronies and alleged building of a 297-bed hotel within two years of becoming SGF. But we have not gone into these other allegations.
“Anyim knew all along that the EFCC had been on his trail. At a point, he wanted a political solution to his travails, but this has not worked for him. What is at stake has to do with public funds.”
All the efforts to contact Anyim or any of his aides for comment did not succeed as the mobile telephone numbers of virtually all the contacts were switched off.
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