Pendulum has enveloped the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) where a level grade 6 officer, Christy Olabode, has been named in the diversion and theft of at least N70 million belonging to the agency.
Ms. Olabode, who works in the accounts department at the agency’s headquarters at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), reportedly stole the funds by manipulating furniture allowances between 2013 and 2016.
Several sources at the agency, one of them a management staff, told our correspondent that Ms. Olabode also creamed off funds by regularly using the names of deceased or retired staff of FAAN to draw funds from the agency’s accounts.
“The whole fraud was detected by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) department earlier in July,” one of our sources disclosed. He added that FAAN management then issued a query to Ms. Olabode, disclosing that the alleged fraudster ignored the query.
One other source said Ms. Olabode’s defiant attitude and the management’s failure to call in law enforcement agents have fueled suspicion that “Mrs. Olabode might have committed the financial fraud in collaboration with some top managers and directors in FAAN. These same managers and directors are trying frantically to thwart further investigation into the scam.”
The alleged fraud started during the scandal-prone tenure of Stella Oduah as Minister of Aviation.
Our sources said it was likely that banks officials were involved in the scam.
SaharaReporters obtained documents showing some of the names Ms. Olabode used to divert funds. In August 2013, the sum of N2,719,699.92 was lodged into an Eco Bank account, 2501016701, bearing the name of Paul Amaechi Ihedinihu, a GL 14 officer. In December of the same year, a deposit of N2,719,699.92 was made into an account number, 0059963039, in the name of Bright E. Ogbonna at Access Bank. N2,719,699.92 was deposited in the name of Yahyah A. Sadiq in a Guaranty Trust Bank 0035237900; N1,493,903.52 into another Guaranty Trust Bank account, 0113269817, in the name of Yunus Olaniyan Agboola. Ms. Olabode also funneled N2,184,168.96 into a Diamond Bank account, 0031963629, in the name of Adamu Sanusi.
Other names used in the extensive scam included Hurso Muhammed Hurso, Nnamdi T. Onuchukwu, Haruna Umar, John Uwabuafia Ofodu, Godday Otunaya, Isaac Joel Okwodu, Blessing Inye Pepple, Habibu Abubakar Adamu, and Emmanual Gloria Ewoh.
Other banks in which illicit deposits were made included Oceanic Bank, Fidelity Bank, First City Monument Bank and First Bank.
SaharaReporters learned that Ms. Olabode’s husband is also a staff of the human resources department at FAAN.
Our sources said numerous staff members were amazed that the only action taken by the agency’s management was to redeploy Ms. Olabode from the computer room of the accounts department to a different section in the same department. “Many of us believe she should have been suspended in order to allow for free investigation into the matter,” one source stated.
Some of our sources said the management of the agency seemed scared to invite agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Ms. Olabode’s financial malpractices. “May be they [management] are afraid that, if the EFCC gets involved, then some other scams in FAAN may be exposed.”
There had been recent allegations of fraud against FAAN’s managing director, Saleh Dunoma. Some of the agency’s management staff alleged that the MD owns a stake in a hotel in Singapore and a shopping mall in Dubai.