- Category: Law, Crime & Judiciary
- Published on Saturday, 03 September 2011 06:22
- Written by Admin
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It was further learnt that the Speaker had spurned EFCC invitations twice before the one he honoured yesterday after being told in clear terms the consequences of his action.
Sources told us on Saturday that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the United States had disclosed that in the last days of last year, Ikuforiji flew to the U.S. to apply for a court order that a civil matter in which he had earlier been involved be sealed. The application was approved. But the US agency had then wondered why Ikuforiji would seal a purely civil matter if it had not had some elements that the politician considered dangerous to public health. The FBI then expressed readiness to compel Ikuforiji to unseal the matter, as is required by US laws.
It was also learnt that Ikufori operates a car dealing company at Maryland, Lagos. Sources said that the EFCC suspects that the company was being used by Ikuforiji and some of his political allies to launder money. “The day he received the first EFCC summon two weeks ago, all the vehicles in the premises were immediately driven away even when the commission’s invitation made no reference to it,” a source in the anti-graft agency told the Nigerian Compass on Saturday.
Also, the signboard of the car company was immediately removed and it has not been replaced to date, it was further learnt. Ikuforiji was also said to be collecting about N500m monthly as running cost and other expenses. But there are fears that the Speaker may have been funneling the money abroad, using the car company and buying property all over.
EFCC spokeman, Mr. Femi BabaFemi, confirmed the arrest and pledged that the agency would be thorough and fair in its investigations of Ikuforiji and, indeed, all matters before it.
The FBI had in the statement, published by the Nigerian Compass on Saturday on July 23, wondered what exactly the Speaker was hiding by sealing the case in the US. The civil case had been disposed of since 2005 in the Hennepin County, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
On December 28, 2010, the Speaker’s appeal in the Case No. 27 CV-05-009568 was granted by one Judge Larson. The sealing of the case makes it difficult for both security agencies and even individuals who have interest in the matter, to have access to the matter.
Part of the report of investigations by the FBI, which spanned through two states of Northern Carolina and Minnesota suggested that the Speaker had cases “in Wake county, North Carolina (Case number 2001CR040190) and Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Case number 27-CV-05-009568).”
The report, exclusively obtained by Nigerian Compass on Saturday, further said security agencies in the US had gone to the two states to seek details of the cases involving the Speaker, particularly in “ North Carolina Motor Vehicle to obtain a copy of Ikuforiji’s driving record.”
Also, security agents went to “ Hennepin County, in Minneapolis regarding the Minneapolis matter.”
It was learnt that the matter with Case No. 27 CV-05-009568 was civil. “Curiously, this civil matter was sealed by Judge Larson on December 28, 2010”, a source in one of the US security agents said. According to the agent, the sealing of the document by the Speaker through Judge Larson meant that access was denied the security agent. But he further said that the agents “ were able to obtain a print out from the Court’s database, which indicates that a money judgment was entered against Ikuforiji in the amount of $22,731.01 on August 2, 2005 in favor of Columbia credit services, Inc.” Ikuforiji was represented in that case by by one Ayodele M. Ojo, a lawyer.
The FBI added that “it’s unusual for a party to seek to completely seal a file in a civil matter , especially when the request to seal was made almost five years after judgment was rendered in that matter. We feel that there must be something very damaging in that file for Ikuforiji to insist in having the entire file sealed,” the report read.
It added, “The Court informed us that Ikuforiji specifically advised the Court that the reason for the request to seal the records was because he was seeking public office. Since the application was not opposed, the Court granted the request and made the Order.”
The FBI had said then that it was willing to begin the process of unsealing the records to know exactly what the Speaker was hiding. (Nigerian Compass)