Read the Premium Times report below:
More than one week after a woman was exposed for jumping bail after being charged with alleged cocaine possession by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the anti-narcotics agency has kept mum on the scandal.
Olufunke Phillips, who worked as a digital manager for the Lagos State governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, absconded from justice having been granted bail after she was arraigned for illegal possession of 3.14 kilogrammes of cocaine before a federal court in Lagos in 2007.
The suspect (real name: Philip Esther Olufunke) was arraigned by the NDLEA before Justice P.I Ajoku of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court before she, alongside 25 others, absconded after being granted bail by the judge.
The digital strategist’s sordid past was exposed on March 15 by journalist Ruona Meyer, after a business relationship between the duo went sour.
PREMIUM TIMES had spent the last week trying to reach the NDLEA for their comment on the scandal but phone calls and text messages did not get any response.
Finally reached on Sunday, nine days after the scandal broke, Jonah Achema, the NDLEA spokesperson, said the agency does not have a position yet on the issue.
However, a staff of the agency who did not want to be named told PREMIUM TIMES that the NDLEA’s silence is due to their belief that since the suspect had been charged to court, she’s no longer under the agency’s purview.
Ms Meyer, who holds dual Nigerian-German citizenship, had accused Ms Phillips of intellectual property theft.
The two former business associates had teamed up years ago to establish ‘The Beverage Space,’ a website that focused on mostly alcoholic drinks.
But Ms Meyer, a former BBC journalist, said she was forced to pull the plug on the project after she became aware of Ms Phillips’ dark past.
She said her background checks on the woman who had been made the face of the brand showed that she was a fugitive.
Years later, Ms Phillips began her own website which she named ‘The Beverage Room,’ and Ms Meyer said it was based on the same ideas as ‘The Beverage Space.’
In a series of posts on social media, she explained that she was making a public disclaimer to fully dissociate herself from any business dealings she had with Ms Phillips in the past.
Since the scandal broke, repeated efforts to speak with Ms Phillips have been unsuccessful as she has neither picked her calls nor replied text messages.
She has also been rarely seen on social media where she, hitherto, participated actively before she was exposed as a fugitive.
Her only action on social media ever since was to remove all traces, on both her Facebook and Twitter accounts, of a working relationship with Mr Sanwo-Olu, whom she had actively campaigned for in the run-up to the election.