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Saturday, 17 August 2019

Why I’m being investigated by EFCC – HoS, Oyo-Ita

Why I’m being investigated by EFCC – HoS, Oyo-Ita

* As Oyo-Ita desperate to meet Buhari, embarks on ‘sick leave’

The Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, has confirmed that she was indeed invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to answer to allegations bordering on an alleged N3 billion contract scam.

According to her close aide who spoke with her authorization but pleaded to remain anonymous, contrary to reports, Mrs. Oyo-Ita checked into a hospital after being granted administrative bail, and “has been on leave officially to attend to her health condition.”

The HoS also denied engaging in fraudulent practices notwithstanding the report that about N600 million has been traced to the account of one of her key aides, who has been unable to explain the source of the money. The report said the anti-graft agency’s preliminary findings confirmed that about N3 billion has been traced to Oyo-Ita, allegedly siphoned through proxy companies.

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According to her aide: “the Head of Service of the Federation affirmed being invited verbally by the acting Chairman of EFCC. She denied all allegations on fraudulent conduct. She was never detained by the Commission. She has been on leave officially to attend to her health condition. She is not pleased with unbalanced reportage.”

Recall that in November 2017, Oyo-Ita and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, had engaged in hot argument before Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo over a leaked memo on controversial recall and promotion of a fugitive former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina. The video of their encounter trended on the social media after the incident occurred on November 1, 2017.

A Presidency source told our correspondent on Friday that the embattled HOCSF has been reaching out to government officials who she feels can assist her to secure appointment with Buhari who is currently in his hometown, Daura, Katsina State.

The purpose of the audience she is seeking, the source said, is to enable her to explain herself personally to the President.

As of the time of filing this report however, Oyo-Ita has not succeeded in meeting Buhari since her travails started.

The source said, “I know that since the issue started, she (Oyo-Ita) has been trying hard to seek an appointment with the President so that she can explain her side of the story.

“I know that so far, she has not been able to secure the appointment. She has been meeting a brick wall.

“In any case, even if she succeeds in meeting the President, there won’t be any difference. This President will never stop such investigation.”

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, declined comment when he was contacted on the telephone on the matter on Friday.

Also, efforts made to speak with Oyo-Ita on the telephone on Friday evening did not yield any result.

Calls made to her known telephone line between 6.47pm and 7.12pm entered call forwarding mode, signaling that the number was not available.

A source close to her had however told journalists late Thursday that she had proceeded on leave officially “to attend to her health condition.”

He said while the HOCSF admitted that the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, invited her verbally, she was never detained at the commission since “she denied all allegations on fraudulent conduct.”

Recall that Buhari last Friday left Abuja for his hometown where he joined his kinsmen and others to celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir.

He is due back in Abuja on Sunday barely 24 hours before a two-day presidential retreat being organised for ministers designate will start on Monday.

At the close of the retreat on Tuesday, Buhari will inaugurate the ministers designate and assign portfolios to them on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation, the Independent Public Service Watch, has called for the resignation of Oyo-Ita following the allegation.

The CSO in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by its Executive Secretary, Mr Okpanachi Jacob, vowed to commence nationwide protest against her if she fails to resign within 72 hours.

Culled from Sun and Punch

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