Graft: EFCC impounds Sheriff’s jet, begins ‘massive’ probe of PDP’s factional chairman

By Our Correspondent, Lagos
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have impounded a jetliner belonging to a factional chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Parfty (PDP), Alhaji Ali Modu Sheriff.
As at the time of filing these reports, the aircraft is current grounded at the Maiduguri International Airport in a move that a source within the commission said was a precursor to ‘a massive full scale probe’ of Sheriff who was the governor of Borno State between 1999 and 2007.
The operatives of the anti-graft agency have also arrested one Mr Samuel Ayodele, the man who is said to be the beneficial owner of the impounded aircraft.
A ‘beneficial owner’ is a legal term where specific property rights (use and title) in equity belong to a person even though the legal title of the property belongs to another person.
Ayodele who is the managing director of Skybird is said to have been helping the agency with information.
Apart from Sheriff, the agency has also seized two private jets allegedly belonging to top politicians under surveillance at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The action of the EFCC was said to have followed the tracing of looted funds by some former political office holders to the purchase of the private jets.
An operative of of the commission spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, saying “We impounded the Dornier 328 on Monday following suspicion in the manner in which it was acquired.
“Our detectives are working on clues that the aircraft belongs to a former governor of Borno state but it is being used by a front. We are already looking into relevant records; we want to establish who actually owns it.
“We are tracking how and when the aircraft was bought, where it was purchased, the mode of payment and the sources of funds. This is definitely an international transaction; it is easier to trace the inflows and outflows from any account.
“There are also some petitions containing allegations against the former governor concerning the aircraft and some public funds. If the aircraft cannot be identified with the ex-governor, the EFCC will release it to the beneficial owner,” a source at the EFCC said.

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