Chukwuemeka Ezeife, a former governor of Anambra state, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of humiliating Allen Onyema, chief executive officer of Air Peace.
Speaking on Monday when leaders of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) visited him at his residence in Anambra, Ezeife said Onyema is not the kind of person who will avoid being investigated.
In November, US authorities had accused Onyema of moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through US bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of aircraft.
He was indicted alongside Ejiroghene Eghagha, the airline’s chief of administration and finance, who is said to have committed aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.
Following the indictment, the EFCC had seized Onyema’s passport “to restrict his movement pending investigations”.
But Ezeife described the action of the agency as improper, saying EFCC had harassed some top businessmen in the past.
“EFCC harassed Ibeto and later he was found to be innocent. They faced Innoson and the courts later proved that the man was innocent. They also descended on Ifeanyi Ubah and the man was subsequently freed.’Now they are humiliating Allen Onyema over a matter they have not investigated properly,” he said.
“Why must EFCC seize his passport but to humiliate him. Allen Onyema is not the calibre of person that will run away.”
Ezeife said the matter is still under investigation, adding that he would make more comments “at the right time”.
Obinna Akukwe, director-general of IMC, accused EFCC of being irresponsible.
“EFCC acted irresponsibly by seizing the passport of Air Peace boss when they have not even done preliminary investigations. This man who has businesses across the world has just been prevented from overseeing his businesses because of a US Jury decision. EFCC should allow the man do his business and await extradition order first before harassing a fellow Nigerian,” he said. ’
He added that EFCC should uncover the fraud first before intimidating anybody.
Onyema had since denied the allegation, describing it as strange.