While the heat generated by the $9.3 M money laundering scandal is yet to die down, we stumbled on some messy details surrounding the matter last week, which would definitely shivers down the spines of keen watchers of events in the country.
The story revolves round Felix Idiga, a well known billionaire in the south east part of Nigeria; who has emerged as one of the new breed billionaires from that region.
He is a close confidant of the embattled President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
Super rich Idiga is said to be the Chief Executive Officer of JAFAC Group, and he is into construction with Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which is his major customer.
Reliable sources squealed last week that Idiga got most of his money through his association with the top shots of NDDC and major militants in the south- south.
He was allegedly involved in oil bunkering along with emergency money bags like Scott Tommey and Delta-based Ayeri.
It was not surprising then, when his name was traced to the funds scuttled by the South African police. Those who know him well were not too surprised based on his antecedents.
He reportedly dumped the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha recently to pitch tent with the ruling party, PDP just like Ali Modu Sheriff, to pursue his senatorial ambition in Imo.
Investigations revealed that the private jet with a US registration number N808HG was one of the two jets cited by South African officials on September 5 and is owned by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
The second is a jet registered with the name, Felix Idiga, the owner of Jafac Limited.
Pastor Oritsejafor’s jet arrived South Africa with $9.3 million cash loaded in several suitcases meant for the purchase of arms and ammunitions.
We were told that under the South African laws, a person entering or leaving the country is expected to carry cash not exceeding R25, 000 (about US$2, 300), or the equivalent in foreign currency notes.
Also, arms usually involved a complex bank transfer system needed to move the money between the countries involved in the deal; they are rarely done in cash.
This contravention of the South African law and other laws governing the movement of cash and the purchase of arms and ammunition proved that the intended transaction was illegal and is possibly intended to smuggle arms to Nigerian to continue to equip terrorists in the North, pirates and militants in the Niger Delta and other forms of insurgence in Nigeria.
However, efforts made to get the reaction of Felix Idiga to the story last week proved abortive as he did not react to the text message sent to his phone at 4.25pm on September 17 despite the fact that the phone indicated that the message was delivered.