Some ex-bankers accused of defrauding the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the mutilated currency scam have asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the activities one of its operatives, Hammadama Bello.
The ex-bankers who alleged that Bello victimized them for offence they did not commit, insisted that Bello collected the sum of three million naira (N3m) from six of them through a lawyer.
DAILY POST recalls that some ex-bankers who are standing trial for allegedly defrauding the Central Bank of Nigeria in the N8b mutilated currency scam had claimed that EFCC investigator, Bello demanded N96 million for their release on bail.
Our correspondent also recalls that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that the claims by the ex-bankers that EFCC investigators pressurised them to pay a bribe of N96 million for their release on bail, is untrue.
But, the ex-bankers among whom are Ayodele Festus Adeyeml, Isiaka Akano, Sunday Ajiwe, Oyebanji Akeem, Ayodeji Alese and Demola Oni insisted that Bello collected five hundred thousand naira from each of them before they were allowed to go on Christmas with their families in December 2014.
The ex-bankers who spoke during a press conference in Ibadan at the weekend, claimed that they paid the money through an Ibadan based lawyer.
The accused persons who said that they were still standing with the affidavit they swore at Federal High Court in Ibadan, maintained that their inability to pay N12m each as a bribe to Bello made him (Bello) to be victimising them over the money they did not collect.
The accused persons urged EFCC, police and other security agencies to investigate activities of Bello whom they accused of collecting bribe to free accused persons.
Adeyeml who addressed journalists on behalf of his colleagues said that he and his colleagues were being victimized due to their refusal to pay bribe to Bello.
“We are here to address a press conference on the issue of mutilated currency. We want the EFCC, Police, the presidency and the national assembly as other relevant agencies to investigate activities of Hammadama Bello, an EFCC investigator. He is victimising us because he discovered that we have some property and he wanted to take over the property.
“We don’t know anything about the money. The money was deposited four years before we were arrested. Bello arrested us and demanded money from us. About a week ago, we swore an affidavit at the Court that EFCC investigator is persecuting us for our failure to pay bribe to him for the closing of the case.
“Bello had in December 2014 collected five hundred thousand naira each from six of us making N6m. He collected the money through a lawyer, Nathaniel Oni. We gave him the money because he ssdi that he cannot release us for Christmas. And we pay the money because of the condition of the cell in Abuja. Bello also said we should pay N12M each for him to close our case
“What I want to say is that I want the EFCC to investigate his activities. I was told that EFCC investigators have been collecting money, I could not belief until Bello asked us to pay money for our release and our case to be closed. I want the EFCC, NBA and other relevant agencies to investigate his activities.
“We are not mentioned in the CBN report. The people that were mentioned are not being prosecuted because they had paid money to him. The only problem he has is that he will victimize anyone he found to have property. 87 of u were taken to Abuja and only 24 of us are being prosecuted because we did not pay money. They had sold and took over our assets. They said that they will continue to prosecute us until we do plea bargain.”
But, the EFCC staff while reacting, described the claims by the ex-bankers that EFCC investigators pressurised them to pay a bribe of N96 million for their release on bail as untrue.
In a statement obtained by DAILY POST, Bello said “I did not at any time request for the sum of N500, 000 or any other sum from either Ayodele Festus Adeyemi or any of his colleagues.
“I did not at any time demand for N12 million or any other sum from the defendants or from any other person. I did not ask any lawyer to collect any money from any of the defendants and I challenge Mr. Festus Adeyemi to name the said Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”