Nigerian singer Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo aka D’banj has been arrested and detained by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) over alleged fraud.
Premium Times exclusively reported on Tuesday that D’banj was arrested and detained on Tuesday after ICPC operatives closed in on him and forced him to surrender himself at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
D’banj is accused of fraudulently diverting monies earmarked by the Federal Government for N-Power project, an empowerment programme set up in 2016 to address youth unemployment and increase social development.
N-power is part of the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) set up by the Muhammadu Buhari administration to tackle unemployment and increase social development.
The multiple-award-winning singer was arrested and detained Tuesday after ICPC operatives reportedly forced him to surrender himself at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja.
D’banj was said to have been making excuses while being summoned for weeks, claiming to be overseas for scheduled concerts each time he was invited to appear for interrogation over fraud allegation.
Investigators allege that D’banj colluded with some compromised government officials to introduce ghost beneficiaries into the payroll of the scheme. The stipend paid to those beneficiaries was then paid into accounts that have now allegedly been linked to the pop star.
Brandpowerng confirmed that the singer was subjected to a prolonged interrogation and was detained after a plea for administrative bail was rejected by officials of the ICPC.
The anti-graft agency is expected to charge D’banj to court over the alleged fraud and diversion of funds after concluding the investigation of the matter.
Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo (born 9 June 1980), better known by his stage name D’banj, is a Nigerian singer and rapper and a co-founder of defunct Mo’ Hits Records with his friend, producer Don Jazzy. He has won several music awards, including the awards for Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009, Best International Act: Africa at the 2011 BET Awards, and Best-selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, Evolution award at the 2015 MTV Africa Music awards.
Critics say his career has been on the decline. His current ordeal will no doubt cast a shadow on his star.
ICPC releases official statement
Meanwhile, in its statement released on Wednesday afternoon signed Mrs. Azuka Ogugua Spokesperson of the ICPC, the Commission said:
“In line with its mandate, the Commission had received numerous petitions on the diversion of N-Power funds running into billions of naira following the approval and release of such funds to the beneficiaries by the Federal Government. Many N-Power beneficiaries had complained over the non-receipt of the monthly funds in spite of payment by the Government.”
“About 10 persons have been invited by the ICPC over the last few months in connection with the N-Power fraud, and have been granted administrative bail after their detention. Several invitations to Mr. Oladipo Daniel Oyebanjo (D’banj), to appear before a team of investigators were ignored and not honoured.”
“Mr. Oyebanjo (D’banj) turned in himself and was taken into custody at the ICPC Headquarters on Tuesday, 6th December, 2022, and is currently assisting the investigators to unravel the circumstances of the fraud allegations by the petitioners.
The investigation will be all-encompassing and also be extended to other collaborators of the fraud and the banks where the beneficiaries’ accounts are domiciled.”
“This press release has become necessary to set the record straight in view of the reports awash in the media. The investigation is ongoing and the Commission prefers not to preempt its outcome and also avoid the frenzy of a media trial.”