In a statement released today, the NDLEA disclosed that its anti-narcotic agents intercepted and seized $2,198,900 “on the grounds of suspected money laundering at the local wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA2) Lagos.”
The agency also arrested 46-year-old Ibiteye John Bamidele in connection with the seized funds. The NDLEA statement, signed by its head of public affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, revealed that the suspect was arrested as he was about to fly to Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
“Preliminary investigation conducted by the Assets and Financial Investigation Directorate of the NDLEA revealed that Ibiteye’s action is in contravention of the money laundering prohibition Act 2011 as amended,” the NDLEA said.
The agency also disclosed that the suspect “alleged that the money belongs to one Dr. Martins Olufemi Thomas, a medical practitioner in Lagos. Investigation conducted by the Agency did not link the money to proceeds of narcotics. However, a country having insurgency challenge cannot afford to ignore suspicious movement of large amount of money.”
The statement added that the NDLEA’s chairman, Ahmadu Giade, had ordered that the suspect and the seized funds be transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further action.
The NDLEA revealed that the suspect claimed to operate a bureau de change business. It quoted the suspect as saying, “I used to work for Ebi Bureau de Change at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja before I established my company with the name ND&C Global Investment Limited which is yet to be fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). One of my clients, Dr. Martins Olufemi Thomas, gave me the said amount to take to Abuja. I was arrested by NDLEA officers while checking-in the money at MM2 on my way to Abuja.”