Doyin Okupe is in troubled waters with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for receiving the sum of N120 million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
EFCC operatives had invaded his Lagos home on December 8, 2018 to invite him for questioning over what he described to be cybercrime. He was later detained for two days after he turned himself in to the anti-graft agency on December 10.
The EFCC has now decided to file 59 charges against Okupe for receiving N120 million from former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, while he served as the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to former president, Goodluck Jonathan, between 2012 and 2015.
The charges border on money laundering and criminal diversion of public funds as well as receiving funds from Dasuki.
In the suit filed before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, the EFCC argued that Okupe should have known that the funds from Dasuki “formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity”. He’s accused of committing an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As amended in 2012) and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
Dasuki himself stands accused of dipping into funds meant for the procurement of arms for the military to fund the 2015 general elections on behalf of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In response, Okupe has responded that his acquisition of the funds was lawful as it was cleared by Jonathan so that he could do his job. However, he also noted that part of an initial N50 million forwarded to him was used to furnish his apartment and office.
He explained, “The initial N50 million was approved by the President (Jonathan) to be paid to me from his security vote. N10 million was to furnish my rented living apartment and another N10 million for my office. The balance of N30 million was approved as take-off grant.
“The N10 million I received from the ONSA monthly was to run my office, pay salaries of staff, including overheads, pay expenses for our numerous press conferences, pay for publications in newspapers, magazines, local and foreign, television programmes, bulletins, and media consultants who assisted and facilitated our work. I had about 23 employees, 11 were graduates out of which five were master’s degree holders.
“We paid NTA about N1.2 million monthly for airtime. Two presenters were paid N600, 000 monthly. The lead presenter on Insight earned N400,000 and the second presenter earned N200,000. Total N600,000.
“We paid for tapes and editing per programme. Besides, we also paid honorarium for guests either directly or in form of hotel bills for those outside Abuja, or transportation.”
The Executive Director (News) of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Sola Atere, has denied that the organisation received any money from Okupe, noting that ‘Insight’ was run for free as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility.
The court is yet to set a date for Okupe’s arraignment.