Staff Of 13 Banks Detained By The SSS For Culpability In Lamido’s Son’s Money Laundering

SSS Nigeria

The State Security Service (SSS) has detained senior personnel of 13 Nigerian banks over allegations of financing terrorists operations and money laundering believed to have been perpetrated by Aminu Suleiman Lamido, son of Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido.

The banks whose staff have been picked up are Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), Wema Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First Bank Nigeria Limited (FBN), Sterling Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) and Citibank.

Also on Thursday, Aminu and his brother, Mustapha Lamido, were arrested by the EFCC over an alleged N10 billion fraud. They were arrested in Kano and flown to Abuja Friday and have since been under interrogation at the commission’s headquarters.

The SSS, which has been on the trail of Aminu Lamido, was said to have sought an ex parte motion from the Federal High Court, Abuja, to freeze the accounts, in 13 banks, of Adold Engineering Company Limited, believed to be owned by the governor’s son.

A copy of the ex parte motion, which was obtained from the court, showed that the court order to freeze the accounts was granted by Justice A.F.A Ademola on November 6, 2013.

It stated: “An order is hereby made freezing the accounts of the underlisted corporate body and financial institutions in the banks (1st – 14th respondents) indicated against their names for their suspected involvement with acts of terrorists’ financing and money laundering.

“An order is hereby made compelling the 2nd to 14th respondents (the banks) in this case to deliver up and furnish the State Security Service/applicant in this case with the respective bank statements and mandate cards of the 1st (Adold Engineering) and 2nd respondents (Fidelity Bank) in this case.

“An order of the Honourable Court is hereby made keeping the above listed accounts frozen until the conclusion of investigations.

“That the ex parte order of the court made is to last for one month from date of service on the respondents with liberty to party(ies) to comply to this court as they deem fit within the said period.”

The ex parte granted by the court further showed Adold Engineering operated the following accounts; in FCMB – 11 accounts; Wema Bank – one account; Access Bank – three accounts; Skye Bank – four accounts; FBN – five accounts; Sterling Bank – three accounts; Diamond, Zenith and Unity Banks – one account each; Ecobank – two accounts; while GTBank and Citibank have one account each.

What is most worrisome for the banks is that none of the affected staff have been given access to their families and lawyers during the entire period of their detention.

A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) official who is aware of the clampdown on banks by the SSS said: “The situation is most worrisome because these personnel have been in detention for more than ten days.

“Our laws provide that no one can be detained for more than 48 hours and if the SSS has a case against them, they should be charged to court instead of holding them for days unend.

“We are also concerned that the SSS lacks the capacity to carry out a thorough investigation on financial crimes of this nature, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which works in conjunction with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit is better suited to these kinds of investigations.

“Besides, all the banks render anti-money laundering returns daily to the CBN and EFCC under an automated system, so if the SSS had made the relevant enquiries they could have been furnished with all the details they needed.”

“We believe this goes beyond the allegations against the governor’s son. We are aware that Kano State Government is the next target and could also involve other G7 states. It may be more political than anything else,” a bank official informed THISDAY.

When contacted, spokesperson for the SSS, Ms. Marilyn Ogar, confirmed that the SSS was investigating massive money laundering and corruption alleged to have been perpetrated by Aminu Lamido through his company, Adold Engineering.
She dismissed allegations that the SSS was targeting the G7 governors and the finances of their states, stressing, “The SSS is investigating massive money laundering and corrupt practices. That is all I can say on the matter. If the banks feel aggrieved, they should go to court.”

Another SSS source also informed THISDAY that the security organisation has a holding charge for the bank officials until it concludes its investigation. Aminu Lamido has had a run in with the law in the past. About a year ago, he was arrested at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, for failing to declare $50,000 he had in his possession. He was later charged to court for money laundering.

Over N10 billion was allegedly transferred from Jigawa State Government accounts into the accounts in which the governor and his two sons have interest from 2007 till date.
EFCC is reported to have traced these transfers to 10 companies where Lamido and sons are directors and signatories to the accounts.

Some of the companies linked to the accounts include Bamaina Alluminium Limited, Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited, Rawda Integrated Services Limited, Speeds International Limited and Saby Integrated Nigeria Limited.

Confirming the arrest yesterday in Abuja, the commission’s Head of Media and Publications, Wilson Uwujaren said Aminu Lamido and Mustapha Lamido were arrested Thursday night in Kano over financial crimes running into billions of naira.
“I cannot tell you specifically the amount involved, but it runs into billions of naira,” he said.

He also confirmed that the suspects were brought to the commissions headquarters in Abuja for interrogation.

Uwujaren explained that the arrest was an extension of Aminu’s arrest in December 2012 for being in procession of $50, 000 at the Kano International Airport, and linked the Governor to illegal deals.

According to him, further investigation into Aminu’s sources of income revealed other transactions which implicated his brother and their father.

“I am confirming to you that both Mustapha Lamido and Aminu Lamido were arrested last night in Kano and they were brought to Abuja this morning. They were arrested for money laundering investigation,” he said. He added that “The 2012 case has been concluded and conviction secured, but further investigations about Aminu’s sources of income revealed details of financial transactions involving him, his brother and the Governor himself.”

Asked whether Governor Lamido would be invited to answer questions on the allegation, Uwujaren said investigations were still ongoing, but added that the governor maybe invited if need be.

He maintained that the issue of bail had not arisen as they were still undergoing interrogation.
“Nobody is discussing bail with them now, like I said, they are still undergoing interrogation,” he said.
In another development, the Presidency yesterday denied the claim by Governor Lamido that he informed President Goodluck Jonathan that a serving minister collected $250m bribe and the President failed to act on the information.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said: “We have noted with much regret, the grossly irresponsible, false and mischievous claim by the Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido that President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to act on information that a serving minister recently collected a bribe of $250 million from an oil company.

“The Presidency views the patently bogus allegation reportedly made by the Governor in a radio interview yesterday as an unacceptable and callous attempt to unjustly impugn the integrity of President Jonathan and cast aspersions on the seriousness of his Administration’s efforts to curb corruption”.

Noting that the allegation was absolutely without any foundation in fact or reality, because no such communication occured between them, the statement said, “We abhor Governor Lamido’s descent to the unscrupulous, reckless and thoughtless peddling of arrant falsehood in a puerile effort to score cheap political points against President Jonathan for personal and sectional political gains.

“If, as he claims, Alhaji Lamido has credible information about a minister receiving the said amount as bribe, he should publicly name the minister involved without delay and provide evidence to support his allegation.

“In the event that he is unable to do so, he should be prepared to offer an unreserved apology to the President and Nigerians for his unwarranted and unjust effort to denigrate, disparage and malign the President and the Federal Government” the Presidency said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This country is in a total corruption mess.Why are the leaders in this country so greedy and heartless?Cant they see the sufferings in the land?Thank God death answereth all!

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