With every new week comes a new twist in the intriguing probe into how $2.1 billion meant for procurement of firearms was allegedly looted.
More names are added to the ever burgeoning list of alleged beneficiaries of the largesse, leaving many mouths agape. ENCOMIUM Weekly brings you a weekly update on the unfolding drama…
FALANA PETITIONS ICC TO PROSECUTE SUSPECTS
Fiery civil rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has petitioned the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “Investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed against the Nigerian people by some former and serving military officers as well as public officials and private persons who engaged in the criminal diversion of more than $2 billion meant to procure equipment for the armed forces to fight insurgency.”
The petition, dated Tuesday, January 19, 2016 and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, highlighted the ripple effect the diversion of the funds had in the battle against Boko Haram insurgents. It reads in part: “On account of the deliberate refusal of the former military authorities to equip and
motivate the members of the armed forces involved in combat operations, the insurgents have killed about 25,000 soldiers and civilians including children and displaced over 2,000,000 people. Having compromised the security of the people of Nigeria by collaborating with the terrorists, the former military authorities deliberately encouraged the brutal killing of innocent people including ill-equipped officers and men.” He urged the court to investigate the matter and bring those found guilty to justice.
BUHARI ORDERS FRESH PROBE AS INVESTIGATION PANEL RELEASES SECOND REPORT
Following the release of the second interim report by the Presidential Probe Committee on the arms deal, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered EFCC to dig deeper.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu issued a statement containing the full list of retired and serving military men who served during the immediate past government of Goodluck Jonathan who must be investigated by the anti-graft agency.
They include former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (Rtd), Air Marshals MD Umar (Rtd) and AN Amosu (Rtd). Also included are: Maj-Gen. ER Chioba (Rtd), Air Vice Marshals I.A Balogun (Rtd), A.G Tsakr (Rtd), A.G Idowu (Rtd) and A.M Mamu, and others.
INDICTED MILITARY CHIEFS GRILLED BY EFCC OPERATIVES
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday, January 25, 2016 questioned some top military officers indicted in the alleged $2.1 billion arms fraud.
The military officers – including retired and serving – were recommended for investigation in the second interim audit report by the Presidential Probe Panel.
EX CHIEF OF AIR STAFF, AMOSU ARRESTED, DETAINED
The EFCC on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, arrested the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd) in connection with arms purchase scam. This comes after President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent directive to the EFCC to investigate serving and retired military officers over alleged misconduct.
EFCC TO GRILL MORE TOP SHOTS FINGERED IN DEAL
The EFCC will interrogate more than 10 military chiefs and other highly-placed individuals as investigations into $2.1bn arms scandal continues.
Among those to be quizzed are immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal M.D Umar (retd.), and an ex-Director of Production at the Defence Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal O.T. Oguntoyinbo.
In the words of the commission’s chair: “More influential Nigerians are on the radar of the EFCC and in the coming weeks, they would have their days in court and Nigerians will be kept fully abreast of the results of the commission’s investigations.”
N400M TRACED TO UNNAMED ARMY CHIEF’S ACCOUNT
As investigations into the arms deal intensifies, EFCC operatives stumbled on an account said to belong to an unnamed army officer with N400 million traced to the account.
The account is said to be domiciled in a third generation bank and has been frozen by the commission. Efforts to track the suspect and others yet to be summoned have not yielded the desired result.
LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPER RETURNS N9M TO NPAN
The management of Leadership Holdings Limited, publishers of national daily, Leadership newspapers has returned the N9 million it received from the Presidency through the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) as compensation for the seizure of its publications in 2014.
In a letter dated January 29 and addressed to the General Secretary of NPAN, the company said it decided to return the money after some senior officials had gone behind to direct their organisations to refund the compensation received from the government even though it was agreed that they committed no offence by receiving the compensation.
EFCC ARRESTS OWN OPERATIVE FOR EXTORTION
In a case of the hunter becoming the hunted, the EFCC arrested one of its operatives, Abdulrahman Mohammed Biu, following claims of extorting $150,000.
According to a report, the accused – a deputy detective superintendent – was arrested on Monday, January 25, 20016, after intelligence reported that he allegedly collected the money from some military officers on the pretext of securing a soft landing for them in the on-going investigations into the arms deal scandal.
FORMER LAGOS GUBER CANDIDATE, OBANIKORO’S SON ON EFCC RADAR
Two sons of former Lagos gubernatorial candidate, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Babajide and Gbolahan are currently on the radar of the EFCC, according to sources at the agency.
The sources disclosed that N4.7bn was traced to a company, Sylvan McNamara Ltd, in which the former Minister of Defence’s sons have interest.
The money was allegedly paid in several batches into the company’s account from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) account with the CBN.