N603m fraud: EFCC makes U-turn, says NABDA boss, Ogbadu has case to answer

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, faulted its October 24, 2017 open letter clearing the Director-General of National Biotechnology Development Agency, NABDA, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, of culpability in the diversion of N603 million from the agency.

Of the amount said to have been traced to the accounts of the wife of Bayelsa State Director of the agency, N23 million was reportedly paid to the Director General, forcing the EFCC to arrest and detain her in June last year.

But in a letter dated October 24, 2017 and signed by the secretary of the EFCC, the anti graft agency absolved Ogbadu of any involvement in the alleged fraud.

The letter was addressed to the Science and Technology Minister, who supervises the NABDA.

However, the EFCC, yesterday, reversed itself, arguing that the letter by its scribe did not clear Ogbadu of criminal involvement in the fraud.

A statement by Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that the agency had already filed 49 charges against the suspect.

The statement said: “The EFCC wishes to dissociate itself from recent reports in sections of the media, purporting that the Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency, Professor Ogbadu, has been cleared of allegation of criminal impropriety. It is against the code of professional practice for the EFCC to issue clearance letters to either individuals or organisations investigated by the agency.

“The letter from the secretary to the commission, Mr. Ageboyega Aremo, to the Minister of Science and Technology, which is being misconstrued as clearance for the D-G, did not exonerate her of criminal indictment.

“For the avoidance of doubt, a prima facie case of money laundering has been established against Prof. Ogbadu with a 49-count charge already filed against her and nine others, awaiting assignment.”