A big manhunt is on the way for a key suspect in the Immigration jobs scandal, which claimed 19 lives in 2014, The Nation learnt yesterday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will enlist the International Police (INTERPOL) and other agencies in the United Kingdom (UK) to track down Mahmood Ahmadu, an associate of former Minister of Interior Abba Moro, sources close to the investigation said.
Moro’s and Ahmadu’s trial is due to start today at an Abuja High Court, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujiaren confirmed yesterday. Also to face trial is Ahmadu’s company, Drexel Tech. Nigeria Ltd.
Ahmadu, who shuttles between Lagos and London, has been unavailable for interrogation
The suspects, including, a former Permanent Secretary, Mrs Anastasia Daniel-Nwobia and F. O. Alayebami, will face an 11-count charge filed by the anti-graft agency last Tuesday.
They are accused of alleged mismanagement of N676 million collected from over 600,000 applicants.
The EFCC spokesman said last night: ”Former Interior Minister Moro will on February 29 (today) be arraigned on an 11- count charge before Justice Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“We may enlist INTERPOL and relevant agencies in the UK to track down Mahmoddd Ahmadu. He used to have companies in the UK and with his biometrics, there is no hiding place for him.
“We have already watch-listed him. This makes him a security risk wherever he goes. It is in his interest to come out of hiding.”
Last week, the EFCC exposed how a substantial part of the N676.6million collected from 676,675 applicants seeking employment with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), was mismanaged.
About N202.5 million was allegedly lavished on property – No. 1, Lahn Crescent Maitama, Abuja and No. 2 Sigure Close, Off Monrovia Street, Wuse II Abuja, which was upgraded with N120.1 million.
The commission said the recruitment firm, Drexel Tech Nigeria Limited and Ahmadu converted N101.2 million to US dollars for personal use.
The houses were bought in 2015. Nineteen applicants died and scores got injured in job stampede in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Minna in March 2014.
All the accused persons, including Moro, will face trial for alleged Advance Fee Fraud, abuse of Public Procurement Act, No. 65 of 2007, misconduct contrary to Section 22(5) of the Independent Corrupt Practices Act 2000 and offence contrary to Section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act 2011.
The Nation reported exclusively last week that Ahmadu has shut down three of his United Kingdom (UK) companies.
He resigned as a director of another firm last month and brought in new directors for another one based in Jersey, a UK-dependant outpost located on Channel Island.
Jersey is regarded as a tax haven and top offshore financial centre.
Ahmadu and his firm, Drexel Tech Global Ltd, coordinated the tragic recruitment in March 2014.
Mr Ahmadu filed for the strike-off one month after the tragedy despite the commencement of a probe by the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs. He never showed up at the probe.
Drexel Tech Global was Registered in June 2011 with a share capital of £1 (one pound sterling) and dissolved in August 2014.
The registered directors of Drexel Tech Global are: Ahmadu, 49, Nigerian of 63 Dennis Osadebey Crescent, Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, Nigeria and Ms Theresa Mahoney, 51, (American) of 6 Hitchcock circle, Simbury, Connecticut, USA, 06070.
Drexel Tech Global Company’s account was filed as dormant in June 2012 and 2013 financial years and then dissolved through voluntary strike-off in August 2014 without a single taxation paid to the UK government.
Another of Ahmadu’s companies, Socket Works Ltd and Socket Works Global Ltd, registered in the UK in March and April 2013, were also shut down soon after.
Socket Works Global Ltd was closed down in October 2014 and Socket Works Ltd. in February 2015.
His other evasive attempts at operating from behind the scene was not glamorous either. Ahmadu replaced himself and Mrs Maryam Mahmood, 37, believed to be his wife, as directors at Online Integrated Solutions Ltd UK with two other people. He resigned from Online Integrated Solutions Ltd. only last week when the EFCC hunt became public. Mrs Mahmood left last November.
Ahmadu has, however, kept alive his interest in Gau Limited, which he registered in the Uk in Jan 2015 and in A2A International Ltd, which was registered in Jersey, Channels Island in 2012. But his interest is represented in the Jersey registered company by Online Integrated Solutions Ltd.