Nigeria: ONSA - U.S.$44 Million Recovered From NIA Not in Our Custody

16 June 2021

The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) yesterday said it has nothing to do with $44 million recovered from the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in 2017.

The Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Brig. Gen. Ja'afaru Mohammed told the House of Representatives Adhoc committee investigating the management of recovered funds between 2002 and 2020 that the ONSA was not in possession of the recovered funds and assets.

The Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee Hon. Adejoro Adeogun had quoted the Chairman of EFCC as saying that the fund recovered from the NIA office in Ikoyi was in the custody of the Office of the National Security Adviser

But Mohammed told the Committee that the NIA money was not with the ONSA and that the office has nothing to do with recovered funds or the management of such.

He stated: "The operation that was carried out at Osborne Towers Ikoyi Lagos was planned and executed by EFCC operatives. ONSA was neither part of the team that recovered the funds nor was the funds handed over to ONSA at any point of the recovery.

"However, for the avoidance of doubt, there were issues of funds belonging to an intelligence outfit that was taken out of the abode and was later returned to the outfit on the directive of Mr. President. Evidence of the deposit of the fund is hereby attached."

Mohammed explained that the only money recovered from the NIA was about $41 million, which was the funds of the NIA which has been returned to the office on the directive of the President.

He added: "The NIA was under investigation and the President directed that the ONSA should take charge of the place. I was sent there to take charge of the funds of the agency. I went there and counted the money in their vault and it was about 41 million dollars.

"We kept that money and after the investigation, the President ordered that the money be returned to the agency. We have returned it to the owners as directed by the President".

Mohammed informed the Committee that the President established a Presidential Committee on recovered assets whose activities is coordinated by ONSA, but however added that the ONSA has no input into the operations of the committee as the operates independently of the ONSA.

He pointed out that funds recovered by the committee are paid directly into the Recovered Funds Account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that the money can only be deposited into the account, but none can be withdrawn from it.

Members of the committee however insisted that there were discrepancies between the presentation of the ONSA and record presented to it by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and insisting on further clarification, especially on the inward and outward flow of funds into the account.

In his response, Mohammed insisted that since the ONSA has nothing to do with recovered funds, the Chairman of the Presidential Committee should be invited to explain the operations of the account.

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