Former staffers of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who were allegedly involved in the N8 billion mutilated naira notes scam, have claimed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) took over their houses and rented them out after they initially paid bribes to secure their first release but failed to pay more bribes.
The ex-bankers, who spent over four years in prison, said their wives and children were sent out of their houses immediately they were sent to jail for crimes they did not commit.
They urged the EFCC and the federal government to investigate all allegations against Hamnadama Bello, an investigator in EFCC, who was assigned to investigate the case in 2014.
“We want the EFCC, police, the presidency and the national assembly and 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,” said Ayodele Festus Adeyemo, who is one of the alleged offenders and spoke on behalf of the other five at a press briefing this weekend in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The other accused persons who had been facing trials, include Isiaka Akano, Sunday Ajiwe, Oyebanji Akeem, Ayodeji Alese and Demola Oni.
They said that the EFCC investigator Bello had caused them so much hardship because they refused to give him further bribe, adding that they were innocent of the crime they were charged with.
“We don’t know anything about the money,” Adeyemi said. “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 the EFCC investigator is persecuting us for our failure to pay a 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 N3 million. He collected the money through a lawyer, Nathaniel Oni. We gave him the money because he said that he could not release us for Christmas. And we paid the money because of the condition of the cell in Abuja. Bello also said we should pay N12 million each for him to close our case.”
Adeyemi urged relevant authorities to investigate wide-spread corruption in EFCC.
“I want the EFCC to investigate his activities. I was told that the EFCC investigators have been collecting money. I could not believe it 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 victimise anyone he found to have property. Eighty-seven of us were taken to Abuja, and only 24 of us are being prosecuted because we did not pay money.”
Isiaka Akano, one of the persons being prosecuted by EFCC, said that EFCC officials took over his house.
“Bello used Oke to collect the money from us,” Akano said. “He invited him to Abuja and I am the one that gathered the money. I collected the money from the five of us and each paid N500,000. He collected the N3 million through Oke before we were released in December 2014.
“We were later re-arrested in 2015. We spent almost five years at Agodi prison before we were released in 2019. We are not fabricating the story,” Akano added.