The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared a former Minister of Power and Steel, Olu Agunloye, wanted over an alleged $ 6 billion fraud.
Agunloye, former minister of power under President Olusegun Obasanjo, was at the centre of the $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract controversy and had been quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the affair over the years.
The commission, via its official X (formerly Twitter) platform, called on Nigerians to report Agunloye’s whereabouts to the nearest police station or notify the EFCC.
The EFCC stated:
- “Dr U Agunloye is wanted by the EFCC. Do you know his whereabouts? Please don’t hesitate to inform the EFCC or the nearest Police Station.”
WANTED BY THE EFCC: OLU AGUNLOYE
— EFCC Nigeria (@officialEFCC) December 13, 2023
Obasanjo had accused Agunloye of mismanagement and inadequate briefings regarding the power project during his 1999-2003 term.
Obasanjo raised doubts about Agunloye’s authority in granting a $6 billion contract to Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd for the project in 2003, urging him to explain.
In his response, Agunloye said the nature of the initial contract for the Mambilla Power Project was awarded as a Build, Operate and Transfer contract in May 2003 under his watch.
He said the government was not obliged to pay a kobo to Sunrise under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) agreement as it was to be fully funded by the newly registered company, whose declared assets were worth less than $2,000 at the time.
However, Agunloye refrained from disclosing the details of the authorization he received to undertake a $6 billion government project, especially noteworthy given Obasanjo’s policy limiting ministerial approval to no more than N25 million.
Meanwhile, the EFCC interrogated the ex-minister regarding the controversy and a questionable payment allegedly linked to his bank account.
The payment with the description “FRM LENO” was allegedly traced to his account after he committed the federal government to the disputed contract awarded to Sunrise Power Ltd, promoted by Leno Adesanya.
However, a further investigation by EFCC appeared to show that Agunloye spent the money on shopping and transportation around Orlando, Florida, in the United States, and not on medical expenses.
The discovery of the bank transfers was said to have triggered another investigation dating back to the 2000s.