27th September, 2010
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at the weekend re-arrested theÂ president of Aguiyi Ironsi International Trade Centre, Ladipo Market Mushin, Lagos,Â Nigeria for allegedly jumping bail.
Also, the associationâ€™s bank accounts have been frozen by the EFCC following theÂ statements of the leaders of the market. They were summoned by the EFCC to explain theirÂ role in the N650millionÂ fraud allegedly perpetrated by Chief Jonathan Okoli.
The president, who has been in EFCC custody since Friday, when he was re-arrested, wasÂ allegedÂ to have defrauded the Lagos State government, Mushin Local Governemnt and theÂ traders to the tune of N650 million.
However, Jonathan Okoli has denied the allegation but the traders insisted that he shouldÂ account for the revenue he had collected on behalf of the government.
The market leaders summoned by EFCC office include the former President of the market,Â Chief Innocent Ejike; Anthony Nwanzeribe, General Secretary; Lazaru Ibekwe, FinancialÂ Secretary; Lucky Uchendu, Treasure; Tony Onyiliagha and the vice presidentÂ among others.
P.M.NEWS learnt that they were summoned to explained what they knew about the financialÂ crisis rocking the market. They were said to have written statements and were allowed toÂ go home untilÂ they are needed again.
Chief Okoli who was earlier arrested and granted bail while the investigation continued.Â HeÂ was later invited by the EFCC but he reportedly ignored the invitation several times.Â When he eventually went there, he was detained.
Confirming the arrest, the General Secretary of the market, Anthony Nwanzeribe saidÂ theÂ Commission has ordered them to submit all the receipts and financial documents of theÂ association which he was yet to submit because the president had not shown up at theÂ EFCC.
Crisis has been brewing in the market over the leadership style of the president, ChiefÂ Okoli. This has led to the arrest of Chief Okoli by the EFCC which later granted him bailÂ while the investigation continued. But he has now been rearrested because he refused toÂ show up at the EFCC office.
His arrest, P.M.NEWS gathered followed a petition to EFCC by a Lagos lawyer and humanÂ rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana, to investigate the allegation and bring the presidentÂ to book.