Thursday, December 13, 2012

Governor's son arrested with $50,000 at airport

A son of Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido was arrested with undeclared N6.3 million equivalent in U.S dollars at the Kano airport on Tuesday night, the EFCC said yesterday.

Aminu Sule Lamido, 34, was nabbed with $40,000 cash which he did not declare in the Customs currency declaration form.

He had declared only $10,000 to the Customs who let him pass but he was intercepted along the way to the boarding area by a task force of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission who found the additional money on him, sources told Daily Trust.

Aminu, a 2010 graduate of Mass Communication from the Bayero University Kano, was picked up by the EFCC operatives at about 11.15pm on Tuesday, on his way to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo.

"I can confirm to you that he is arrested. Aminu Sule Lamido, 34, was arrested for underdeclaring money he had with him," spokesman for EFCC Wilson Uwujaren said.

"He was arrested at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport with money. He was on his way to Egypt. He declared $10,000 to the Customs, but when he was searched by EFCC officials, additional $40,000 was found on him," Uwujaren added.

The Jigawa State Government did not give an official reaction on the arrest of Aminu, who is Governor Sule Lamido's eldest son. But an aide to the governor told Daily Trust they were aware of the incident and were monitoring developments.

A senior official in the Kano/Jigawa command of the Nigerian Customs Service gave a Daily Trust an insight into how Aminu was arrested.

The official said as Aminu completed the processes of boarding his flight, he filled in a Customs currency declaration form with a claim that he was carrying only $10,000.

The official said the Customs personnel did not probe him further because the declaration process was voluntary for passengers.

He said it was after Aminu passed the Customs desk that personnel of EFCC's task force at the airport subjected him to further checks including physical search, and that was when the undeclared amount of money was found on him.

Daily Trust learnt that he was taken into custody at the EFCC Kano zonal office near the state hajj camp for interrogation.

When asked if the suspect will be charged to court, Uwujaren said: "Whatever is going to happen, we will let you know."

No comment from Dutse

The Jigawa State Government did not issue an official reaction over the arrest of the governor's son.

When contacted, Lamido's chief of staff Aminu Ringim told Daily Trust they were aware of Aminu's arrest and were monitoring the situation.

But the governor's director of press Umar Kyari could not be reached by telephone and he did not reply to a text message sent to him.

Also, information commissioner Ibrahim Babandi Gumel did not answer calls made to him by our correspondent and also did not reply to a text message seeking for comment on the arrest.

A Daily Trust reporter who went round the state capital noticed that people were discussing the incident in a hush-hush manner.

One "free reader" at a popular newsstand who does not want his name mentioned said Governor Lamido is trying in Jigawa State but his sons could ruin his political career.

An ally to Lamido who spoke on condition of anonymity told Daily Trust that Aminu was travelling to Cairo for medical treatment and that the arrest over the possession of undeclared $40,000 was a ploy to tarnish the image of the governor.

This was not the first time EFCC is having a brush with the Lamido family. Sometime last year, the commission investigated another son of the governor over certain monies found in his account.

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