A telecommunication company is claiming ownership of one N8.4 billion found in a suspected fake account after a whistle-blower alerted security agencies of the huge sum deposited into ECOBANK, the Nation newspaper is reporting.
But the government is said to have filed an ex parte motion for the temporary seizure of the money as there are reports that the money, suspected to be the proceeds of money laundering, is about to be wired out of the country.
The telecommunications company has gone to court, claiming ownership of the money after a whistle-blower alerted the government to strange deposits into the ECOBANK account by some suspected government officials, the Nation reports.
A source involved in the investigation said: “A whistle-blower alerted the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, leading to the involvement of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) in the investigation.
“The probe of the account by detectives showed that the funds were routed through the account of a telecoms giant but there was no disclosure of the signatories to the account.
“Also, the list of depositors into the account was unknown but the sequence of deposits was tracked by detectives.”
The source confirmed that an ex -parte application had been filed at the Federal High Court 11 in Lagos, presided over by Justice Abdulazeez Anka, to recover the cash under temporary forfeiture.
The Federal Government has hired two lawyers, John Samuel Opeyemi and Oluwafemi O. Aweda, to recover the funds.
Another source also privy to the investigation said the probe so far indicated that the cash paid into the account could be over N10billlion.
The source added: “Detectives stumbled on separate deposit of N5billion and N4billion. But investigation is at present concentrated on the recovery of N8.4billion, which was changed to dollars and probably wired into some accounts abroad.
“A telecommunications giant has approached the court to claim the ownership of the cash. We have been demanding for the list of signatories to this account but it is yet to be provided.