The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has finally received a petition to probe bullion vans seen at the residence of Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
On the eve of the last presidential election, images on social media showed bullion vans allegedly conveying cash to the residence of Mr Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor.
The national leader of the ruling party while addressing the issue confirmed the authenticity of the images and queried whose business it was to poke nose in his affairs.
“What is your issue with bullion vans in my house?” the former governor queried newsmen.
“I have not done any government business in the last five years. So I didn’t steal government money. And the bullion van was not said to contain election materials. So what offence have I committed. I have had no contact with government money in the last five years.
“So I don’t see why that should be anybody’s problem. It is my money. I decide where to keep it and where not to keep it,” Tinubu said.
TODAY POLITICS understands that by confirming that cash were really the contents of the bullion van, Mr Tinubu has violated the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 which makes it illegal for any individual to accept or make any cash payment that exceeds N5m (Five Million Naira).
This means that every cash transaction over N5m must be done through a financial institution and certainly the amount is a far cry from what the two bullion vans are expected to carry.
Last week, the EFCC in a war of words on Twitter with an activist, Segun Awosanya, demanded a petition to probe the former governor over the bullion vans entering his residence. This is despite quoting a section of its act, Section 7 (1) (b) of EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, that empowers it to probe citizens said to be living above their source of income without being petitioned.
Although Mr Awosanya said submitting a petition on the issue is a waste of time because previous ones he had earlier submitted were yet to be attended to, another activist, Deji Adeyanju, took up the challenge.
Mr Adeyanju, who heads a civil society organization, Concerned Nigerians, promised to visit the headquarters of the anti-graft agency on Friday. When he appeared on the road leading to the office of the EFCC, gun-wielding security personnel attached to the commission harassed him and his delegation which included journalists from various media houses.
In a confrontation that lasted for minutes, the activist accused the security personnel of not doing what is right.
“You will not do the right thing. You will come and be harassing ordinary citizens,” Mr Adeyanju alleged.
“Why would you tell me to leave this place? The harassment is too much. This is a public institution,” he said.
The mission was finally successful and documents showed the office of the acting chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, received the petition.
The petition queried why a private citizen like the former governor should be seen living above his means of livelihood.
It was signed by Adeyanju, Ariyo-Dare Atoye of the Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution; and Adebayo Raphael of the Free Nigeria Movement.
“To the best of our knowledge, Mr Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a private citizen who ordinarily should not be seen with a convoy of bullion vans,” the document sighted by TODAY POLITICS said.
“The questions begging for answers are: What are bullion vans doing in the house of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu? Who owns the content, believing to be cash in the bullion vans that were seen entering the house of Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the eve of Nigerian presidential elections?
“Has the commission, based on its core mandates, investigated the source of the Bullion Vans? Is Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s house, now a bank where Bullion Vans now take money to?” it queried.