The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) after about three months of hide and seek, yesterday arrested a former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Otunba Iyiola Omisore.
Mr Omisore was arrested in Abuja for the ₦4.745billion allegedly allocated to him and others by the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA).
Of the slush funds, about ₦1.310billion was allegedly traced to Omisore and three companies.
His suspected accomplices include Governor Ayodele Fayose and former Minister of (State) Defence Musiliu Obanikoro, who is in the United States.
The arrest of Omisore was with a tinge of drama. He reportedly locked himself up in the master’s bedroom to evade arrest by EFCC operatives, sources said.
EFCC operatives climbed a balcony to enter the room where a “jittery” Omisore was arrested. Found in his room, said the source, are $21,000 and about N1million cash.
Sensitive documents relating to transfer of funds to slush companies by ONSA, the National Assembly and some companies were also recovered from Omisore, The Nation learnt.
Omisore reportedly told the EFCC team: “I will not follow you; only my corpse will follow you.”
He reportedly surrendered when the siege to his house was daunting.
According to a top source in EFCC, the arrest of Omisore followed a successful trail of his movement to Abuja.
The source said: “We had intelligence report that Omisore was at his 1, Kainji Crescent in Maitama, Abuja. We set out at 6am to invite him but when we got there; we were told he was not in town.
“We went into the compound and gained access to the house. We started searching the rooms one by one. At a point, we discovered that the master’s bedroom was locked. We asked them to open it but they said, they had no key to it. Having been aware of our presence, Omisore had firmly locked up himself to evade arrest.
“We surrounded the place with armed policemen and entered the master bedroom through the balcony. When we met him, we showed him a court warrant of arrest and a search warrant fully endorsed by a competent court.
“We searched his room afterwards and we discovered documents linking him to those companies used for laundering of money from ONSA , National Assembly and some firms which they forced to part with cash to fund political campaign.
“Some of the documents on landed properties which he bought with these slush funds.
“When we finished the search, we showed him the warrant of arrest but he retired into a mild drama that he would not go to the EFCC office.
“Omisore, who knew the game was up said: ‘I will not follow you, only my corpse will follow you.’ The suspense continued until his lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, asked him to go to EFCC headquarters.
“After then, we took him to the office and obtained a statement from him. During interrogation, he admitted that he is a director of some of the companies linked to him . ONSA, National Assembly and some firms that paid huge funds into the accounts of these companies .”
According to the source, Omisore told detectives that the companies paid the funds under investigation to him but they were the money he loaned them.
“We have served him bail conditions, it is left to him to meet these terms to regain freedom. So far, we have detained him,” the source said.
About N1.310billion was traced to Omisore and three companies out of the N4,745billion.
According to a report by the EFCC, the funds were remitted as follows: Fimex Gilt Limited(N160m)-8/8/2014in UBA; Metropolitan Consortium (N350m)—9/7/14 in First Bank; Sawanara (N300m)—1/8/14 in First Bank and Metropolitan Consortium(N350m)-1/8/14 in First Bank.
A top EFCC source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Preliminary findings have shown that N1.310billion out of the N4.745billion from ONSA was remitted to the three firms and the accounts of these three companies belong to Omisore. This is one of the reasons we have invited the former Deputy Governor but he is yet to show up.”
The anti-graft agency through a letter, of April 7, 2016 invited Omisore for interrogation.
The letter, signed by Abubakar Madaki on behalf of the Acting Chairman of EFCC, reads in part: “The commission is investigating an alleged case in which your name featured prominently.
“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to attend an interview the undersigned on Monday, 11th of April 2016 at No.30, Harper Crescent, Wuse Zone 7 at10am.
“Your cooperation in this regard is solicited.”
Instead of honouring the invitation, Omisore wrote a letter through one of his lawyers, Wole Jimi-Bada and Co. that the interview should be rescheduled to Thursday, April 14, 2016.
The counsel said in part: “Your letter dated 7th April 2016 and addressed to our client and delivered to his gateman at our client’s residence has been passed on to our chambers.
“We regret to inform you that our client travelled briefly out of Abuja but will return by Wednesday evening. Consequently and unfortunately, he will not be able to attend the interview scheduled for Monday, 11th April 2016 as requested in your letter under reference.