By Abiodun Sanusi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it will remove the former Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr. Doyin Okupe, from its watchlist following his arrest by the Department of State Security Service at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Thursday.
An impeccable source at the EFCC confirmed to our correspondent that Okupe had been on the EFCC watchlist for about six years since 2016.
“Dr. Okupe is one of the individuals, groups, or organizations that required close surveillance, for legal reasons. In his case, he has been on our watchlist since 2016.”
Confirming the report in an interview with our correspondent, while reacting to Okupe’s arrest by the DSS and his subsequent transfer to the EFFC, the anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the EFCC would take immediate action to remove the former presidential aide from its watchlist.
Uwujaren said, “Concerning the interception of Doyin Okupe; the DSS, today, January 12, informed the Commission of the interception of Dr. Okupe, former presidential adviser, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
“The Service acted on a watchlist request issued on July 18, 2016, over six years before his recent conviction on money laundering charges by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“The Commission was in the process of formally lifting the watch list before his interception, and will expedite action in this regard.”
The PUNCH reports that the DSS cited its cooperation with the EFCC as the reason for Okupe’s rearrest earlier today.
Responding to an inquiry by our correspondent, DSS spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said, “Okupe was intercepted by the DSS at Terminal 1 of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos this morning at the instance of the EFCC. He has long been handed over to the Commisson which requested for the action. Okupe was billed to fly to London via Virgin Atlantic.”
The PUNCH on December 19, 2022, reported that Okupe was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for breaching the Money Laundering Act.
According to the EFCC that engineered the arrest, Okupe was charged to court for receiving N702 million in illegal payment from public funds meant to procure arms to fight insurgency in 2019. He was convicted of the offence by the Federal High Court.
One of the charges read, “That you, Dr Doyin Okupe, being the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan from July 2012 to May 2015 and being the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, and a signatory to the bank account of Abrahams Telecoms Limited, on or October 3, 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, directly took possession or control of the sum of N35million, transferred to the account of Abrahams Telecoms Ltd from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, purporting to be for special services when you reasonably ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.”
Justice Ojukwu, in a judgment, held that Okupe, also the former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on media to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan was found guilty of contravening Sections 16(1)&(2) of the Money Laundering Act, for accepting cash payments without going through a financial institution, in excess of the threshold allowed under the Act.
Source: The Punch