By Bankole Wright
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has traced N603 million to Esther Habu, the wife of Josiah Habu, who is the Director of the Bioresources Development Centre in Bayelsa State.
According to investigation by the EFCC, Esther, whose husband is a director at the BIODEC branch in Bayelsa State, was given suspicious contracts even as a total sum of N603,000,000 was traced to her, in different deals involving over 20 directors of BIODEC across the country.
The anti-graft agency said in a statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, that about N70 million was traced to her husband.
The EFCC also arrested the Director-General of NABDA, Lucy Ogbadu, who oversees all BIODEC branches across the country.
Ogbadu allegedly received N23 million from the fund.
The statement read in part, “Operatives of the EFCC have arrested the serving Director-General of NABDA, Prof Lucy Ogbadu, for her alleged involvement in criminal conspiracy and diversion of public funds to the tune of N23m.
“Ogbadu was arrested on Wednesday June 28 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, following her alleged link with the Bayelsa State Director of BIODEC, Mr Josiah Habu, who is being investigated by the EFCC in a case of fraudulent diversion of the sum of N75m.
“Investigations by the EFCC showed that Ogbadu allegedly received the sum of N23m through a bank account belonging to the wife of Habu, Mrs Esther Habu, and admitted same in a voluntary statement made to the EFCC.
“Further investigations have also shown that Mrs Habu is one of the contractors with BIODEC, Odi, Bayelsa State, and a total sum of N603m has been traced to her in different deals involving over 20 directors of BIODEC across the country.”
The commission said Ogbadu’s link with all the alleged scams was being investigated, adding that she had been duly served with bail conditions while investigations continued.
Established in 2003 by the National Biotechnology Development Agency under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, BIODEC is an intervention programme of the Federal Government aimed at developing the natural resources of Nigeria for use in agriculture, health, environment and industry.
BIODEC has about 25 centres across the country.