Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Arms Scandal: $15bn Not $2.1bn Stolen Says EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission made staggering discoveries in the process of investigating the alleged fraud relating to the diversion of $2.1bn meant for prosecution of the war against Boko Haram.

The PUNCH learnt on Tuesday that the EFCC had discovered that the total anti-insurgency money diverted by various personalities and agencies was over $15bn.
The $2.1bn represents the arms cash placed under the Office of the National Security Adviser, then headed by the immediate past NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

Ex-military chiefs, including a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.); and a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), had been quizzed for their alleged roles in the arms scam.
Badeh and Dasuki are currently standing trial on charges relating to the alleged fraud.

A top source at the commission, who confided in The PUNCH on Tuesday, said the EFCC and the presidential panel on arms procurement, during investigations, discovered that $2.1bn fraud was just for one of the several transactions.

The source added that the commission discovered that top military officers deliberately incorporated companies to divert anti-insurgency funds for their personal uses.
“We have discovered that the total money in the arms scandal is over $15bn, not $1.2bn that was initially discovered. The $2.1bn was just for one transaction. Many of these military officers set up companies for the purpose of diverting money meant for the prosecution of the anti-insurgency war,” he said.
CCT chair, Umar, not yet exonerated

On the allegations against the Code of Conduct Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, the source explained that the judge had not been totally exonerated.Umar was alleged to have demanded a N10m bribe from Mr. Rasheed Taiwo, a former customs officer.
The source in the commission stated that the content of the letter the EFCC wrote to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation on the matter was clear.
The top sourcewho confided in The PUNCH, said, “Facts are being distorted by those who are afraid of their shadow. The letter, dated March 5, 2015, clearly explains that there was no sufficient evidence at that time to prosecute the judge. It is not an exoneration. The man (who wrote the letter) says there is no sufficient evidence. The issue can come up again.”
£600,000 wristwatch seized from Diezani
 £1.4m wristwatch seized from Omokore’s wife
One of our correspondents learnt that the commission had seized expensive jewellery and wristwatches during various raids on houses of some suspects on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, and other places.The source added that the items seized from the suspects would be displayed to journalists in Nigeria while the summit of 60 world leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari, would take place on May 11 and 12 in the United Kingdom.
The EFCC source added that a wristwatch worth 1.4m pounds was seized from the wife of the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jide Omokore.He stated that a wristwatch of about £600,000 was seized from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, during a raid on her residence.
The firm of Omokore, who was quizzed in January by the commission, was one of the companies that allegedly received multi-billion dollars worth of public assets without due process from the Jonathan administration.
The company, which was established in 2010, had reportedly not explored any oil when it was curiously awarded controlling stakes in two lucrative oil blocks, OML 30 and 34, for just over $50m each,The deal, which was signed by Jonathan’s Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave Atlantic Energy Limited a controlling 55 per cent stake.
The former minister had been interrogated by the Metropolitan Police on issues relating to money laundering.
The EFCC source said the commission had started analysing information on Nigerians, including the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and others mentioned in the Panama Paper leaks.
It was gathered that the commission had seized one hospital equipment known as MRI, Medical Resonance Image, from Amosu. The equipment is worth N2.6bn.The EFCC had previously recovered over N2.3bn cash from Amosu, while properties worth over N1bn had been seized from him.
Commission working to extradite Obanikoro, Mu’azu
Besides suspects in Nigeria, it was learnt that the EFCC  had begun moves to extradite those who had fled the country.The EFCC source added that the commission was working with the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation and the UK’s National Crimes Commission to bring back those who were being investigated, including a former Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Musiliu Obanikoro, and an ex-National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
“We are working with FBI and NCA and they are eager to assist us. I can assure you that those people will be brought back to Nigeria for interrogation,” the source said.

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