Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

The Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission has
finalized plans to declare
former Executive Director of
National Health Insurance
Scheme, Olufemi Thomas,
over a $2.1 million (about
N413million) suspected
money laundering case.
A source at the commission
said the EFCC has been on
the trail of the former NHIS
boss for weeks after a Bureau
De Change operator,
Ibiteye Bamidele, named him
as the owner of a $2,198,900
cash, recovered from him by
men of the National Drug
Law Enforcement Agency.
Mr. Bamidele was arrested on
July 3 at the Murtala
Mohammed Airport, Lagos,
by officials of the NDLEA.
He was then handed over to
the EFCC on July 8, for
further investigation.
After Mr. Bamidele named
the health insurance boss as
the owner of the money, all
efforts by the anti-graft
agency to locate Mr. Thomas
has been futile.
EFCC operatives, our source
said, have combed every
address associated with the
suspect, including his known
addresses in Lagos and
Efforts were also made to
locate him at the Lagos
University Teaching Hospital
in Lagos but that was also not
The spokesperson for the
EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren,
confirmed the intensive
search for Mr. Thomas, and
the plan to declare him
He also urged anyone with
information on the
whereabouts of Mr. Thomas
to contact the commission or
the nearest police station.
Mr. Thomas was sacked as
CEO of the NHIS on April 28,
2015 by then President
Goodluck Jonathan and
replaced by Olufemi
The real reason for his sudden removal
remained unknown.
The NDLEA had intercepted Mr.
Bamidele, the Bureau De Change
operator, while he was carrying US
$2,198,900 at the domestic wing of the
Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.
The suspect, 46, was apprehended on his
way to Abuja, the NDLEA said.
“Preliminary investigation conducted by
the Assets and Financial Investigation
Directorate of the NDLEA revealed that
Ibiteye’s action is in contravention of
the money laundering prohibition act
2011 as amended,” the anti-narcotics
agency said in the statement by Mitchell
Ofoyeju, its spokesperson.
“He alleged that the money belongs to
one Dr. Martins Olufemi Thomas, a
medical practitioner in Lagos.
Investigation conducted by the Agency
did not link the money to proceeds of
“However, a country having insurgency
challenge cannot afford to ignore
suspicious movement of large amount of
In his statement to the NDLEA, before he
was handed over to the EFCC, Mr.
Ibiteye said that he is a Bureau De
Change operator.
“I used to work for Ebi Bureau De
Change at the Federal Capital Territory
(FCT), Abuja before I established my
company with the name ND&C Global
Investment Limited which is yet to be
fully registered with the Corporate
Affairs Commission (CAC),” he said.
“One of my clients, Dr. Martins Olufemi
Thomas gave me the said amount to take
to Abuja. I was arrested by NDLEA
officers while checking in the money at
MM2 on my way to Abuja.”
Ahmadu Giade, NDLEA Chairman, then
handed over the suspect and the cash to
the EFCC for further action.

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