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Onnoghen: Why His Lawyer, Joe Agi, Is On The Spot

Interview Confidential shares with you the reason one of the embattled CJN, Walter Onnoghen’s, lawyers, Joe Agi, seem to be in trouble with the EFCC, and also why Otunba Niyi Adebayo is yet to resume as Chairman, FAAN Board, 14 long months after his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari

Interview Confidential: brings you stories behind the news
Interview Confidential: brings you stories behind the news

Mr. Joe Agi (SAN), one of the senior lawyers representing the suspended chief justice of Nigeria, became a subject of security interest after a series of payments he made to the domiciliary account of Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The Interview Confidential (IC) gathered authoritatively that the Presidency gave the greenlight for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to move against Agi after Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, wrote a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari on January 30, saying that the commission had flagged payments by Agi to Onnoghen’s Standard Chartered Bank account.

Magu’s memo said that there was the need to invite “individuals including Joe Agi (SAN) who paid money into the suspect’s Standard Chartered Bank account for interview.”

The memo also expressed concern over a “pattern of structured payments of $10,000 each in 63 equal payments” in 2012, which amounted to $630,000.

According to Magu, similar structured payments of $10,000 “amounting to $290,800, $50,000 and $36,000 were deposited in the account in 2013, 2015 and 2016 respectively.”

Apart from Agi, the memo did not say which other senior lawyers may be invited in connection with the deposits.

It however, expressed interest in a total deposit of $121,116.00 made into the suspended chief justice’s account between 2014 and 2016 by “Life Friend Plc”, and another $482,966.00 and $800,000 by an entity identified as “Agricole Redemption Pro.”

“Your Excellency” the memo said, “the inflow into all the accounts of the suspect between 2012 and 2016 cannot be justified by his monthly salary of about N751,082.37 and an annual salary of N9,012.988.44”

What Does Hadi Sirika Have Against Niyi Adebayo?

If the Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika was to take a title in Nigeria’s south east, the most befitting would be “Onye ka Ibeya” (one greater or more influential than his peers). IC gathered that 14 months after President Muhammadu Buhari announced former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, as chairman of the FAAN board, Sirika has effectively blocked Adebayo from assuming office.

The pleas by Transport Minister (presumably Sirika’s boss), Rotimi Amaechi; and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, have fallen on deaf ears. Sirika has bluntly refused to allow Adebayo assume duties, running the board like his nursery.

With only a few days to the presidential election and months before the May 29 inauguration or re-inauguration of a president, sources said heads or tails, Adebayo cannot expect a worst faith. “How can he miss what he never had?” our source pondered.

Awwal Musa Rafsanjani is the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, CISLAC.

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