The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized the passports of the owner of Air Peace, Allen Onyema pending investigation into his indictment for alleged $44.9 million wire deals and money laundering in the United States (US).
The Nationa reports that his movement has also been temporarily restricted until the outcome of the probe.
Onyema alongside his chief finance officer Ejiroghene Eghagha are facing the probe which followed the EFCC’s receipt of their indictment by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
Six US agencies, including the immigration office, are reportedly handling the case in America involving alleged bank fraud, credit application fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft.
Recall that EFCC had set up a special panel to investigate the Nigerian component of the deals.
According to reports, the fate of Onyema and Eghagha hangs on the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between Nigeria and the US – the treaty which borders on the extradition of suspects to face trial in either country.
“Following his interaction with our detectives, it became imperative to restrict his movement to the country because we will need him from time to time.
“We have seized his passports for an unfettered comprehensive investigation. And so far, he has cooperated with our team.
“During our interaction, he maintained his innocence. We have, however, made progress in our preliminary investigation,” a source said.
The source further said that the likelihood of Onyema being extradited to the US depends on the MLAT between Nigeria and the US.
“For now, we are only investigating. The extradition process is within the purview of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. You should not forget that the EFCC has to investigate, establish prima facie case and arraigning the suspects in court before any extradition application can be initiated.
“The US government knows what to do as far as the invocation of the MLAT is concerned. We are only fulfilling our own part of the collaboration with the relevant US agencies.”