Aisha Rimi, recently appointed as CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) by President Bola Tinubu, has been previously indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged diversion of Lagos state government funds to the tune of N3 billion.
In 2018, EFCC lawyer Olamide Sadiq disclosed that the anti-graft agency was alerted to the dubious transfers after the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) traced suspicious “heavy inflows in excess of N3 billion from the Lagos state government Number Plate Production Authority” into the accounts of Rimi and Partners and Ekosina Investment Limited, both of which Ms Rimi was signatory.
She was the sole proprietor of the law firm.
Investigations revealed that Aisha Rimi is the major partner in Rimi and Partners and she is also in control of Ekosina Investment Limited, a company seen to have received huge transfers from the Lagos state government Number Plate Production Authority,” Mr Sadiq said in 2018.
At the time, Ms Rimi’s husband, Folorunsho Coker, was the managing director of the Number Plate Authority and it was believed the government funds were diverted with his say-so, thereby making him the prime suspect in the matter and Ms Rimi may have been considered an accomplice in perpetrating the fraud.
Her two companies were listed as the second and third respondents in the suit filed by the EFCC.
The probe in 2018 prompted Mohammed Idris, judge at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, to order that 10 Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) accounts which belonged to Ms Rimi and her shell companies be immediately frozen.
“From preliminary investigations by the commission, the second and third respondents were used to divert funds from the Lagos state government Number Plate Production Authority with the influence of Folorunsho Coker, who was the managing director of the Lagos state agency,” Mr Sadiq explained.
It is unclear whether the EFCC informed Mr Tinubu of the damning fraud charges against Ms Rimi before her NIPC appointment and whether the anti-graft agency concluded its investigation in 2018.
EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwajuren did not immediately return a request for comment on whether they shared their findings with Mr Tinubu.
The presidency also did not respond when asked whether Mr Tinubu was aware of the fraud allegations hanging over Ms Rimi before he appointed her CEO of NIPC.
However, it is not the first time corruption-tainted individuals have landed top jobs in Mr Tinubu’s government as Femi Gbajabiamila, whose law licence was terminated by the State Bar of Georgia in the United States over his corruption and ethical lapses, now serves as the president’s chief of staff.
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