Had President Goodluck Jonathan run a security check on his newly appointed senior special assistant on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, he would probably not have offered him a position in his government. Why? iReports-ng.com has just gathered that Okupe who has now been labelled as an attack dog in the public sphere is enmeshed in a multi-million naira contract fraud over which he has been under investigation by Nigeria’s anti-graft police, the EFCC.
Investigations by iReports-ng.com have so far revealed that Okupe has since his recent appointment been moving round and deploying presidential influence to stop the EFCC from going ahead with the case or pressing criminal charges against him. What is the crime Okupe has been so desperate to cover up in the last three weeks? A competent source in EFCC told iReports-ng.com that the presidential aide had peddled his influence during the administration of his former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo to obtain a contract of about N300 million in Benue state during the regime of Senator George Akume, collected a mobilisation sum of about N200 million and abandoned the project since then.
It was further learnt that on the basis of this, the current governor of Benue state, Gabriel Suswam petitioned the EFCC last year. “After our initial diligent findings on the allegations contained in the petition, we were able to confirm that the man (Okupe ) actually collected the money and disappeared obviously as we were told to go and contest election in Ogun state. We eventually invited him for interrogation and his statements were obtained in our Lagos office last year after which he was granted administrative bail. So, he was still enjoying the bail with his case file already referred to our legal department for legal advice and possible charges when he was appointed an aide to the president”, a top EFCC official told iReports-ng.com in Abuja today.
On whether the anti-graft agency would still go ahead to press charges against Okupe, the source said, “I am not in a position to determine that, only the chairman can give the final directive on that.” It was also learnt that Governor Suswam who has been putting pressure on the EFCC to recover his state funds from Okupe and prosecute him for criminal diversion of state funds has since Okupe’s appointment gone soft on his push.
Efforts to get Okupe react to the scandal however proved abortive as he failed to pick calls made to his mobile telephone number on Saturday morning. It is yet to be seen whether the EFCC will also go silent on the case. Okupe has of late picked on critics of President Jonathan especially Nasir El-Rufai, former minister of the FCT and Pastor Tunde Bakare of Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos.
Source – ireports-ng.com