$2.1bn arms probe: Colonel opens lid on illicit deals by top officers
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
ABUJA — Indications emerged last night that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has received some lead on how some of the indicted top serving and retired military officers looted the nation through fraudulent arms contract and direct diversion of funds meant for arms procurement.
Findings by Vanguard revealed that the arrest and detention of a serving Colonel in the Nigerian Army in relation to the diversion of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase in the Office of the National Security Adviser, exposed the illicit deals undertaken by the indicted officers.
Findings also showed that the Colonel, who hails from Delta State and served as a Personal Assistant to the embattled ex-NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, has been telling the anti-graft operatives all that he knows about the arms deals and those who masterminded the looting of the nation’s resources in the name of arms purchase.
It was on the strength of the revelations by the detained military officer and others, that the EFCC, last week, wrote to the Defence Headquarters to release the affected officers and their retired counterparts, for immediate questioning.
Indicted officers already on our radar —EFCC
A top EFCC official, who spoke with Vanguard last night, confirmed that some of the indicted men were already under their radar.
The officer, who declined to give details of what they were doing about the indicted officers, said that EFCC would take immediate steps to carry out the Presidential directive arising from the indictment of the military officers by a panel, which looked into the arms deals.
The official said: “We intend to carry out the Presidential directive in accordance with our extant rules. Don’t forget that before the directive came, we had already moved to fish out some in the military top brass whose names came up in the course of investigation into the $2.1 arms deals.
“We also have a serving military officer, who has been telling us some of the things that took place in the name of arms purchase in the ONSA. All these will certainly advance our work.”
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, last week, ordered the EFCC to prosecute many top military officers and companies indicted by a Presidential panel that probed the procurement of arms for the country between 2007 and 2015.
Those to be investigated
Among those mentioned in the panel report as having cases to answer were the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd); former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar (retd), and former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu (retd).
The others are Major-General E.R. Chioba (retd), Air Vice Marshal I.A. Balogun (retd), Air Vice Marshal A.G. Tsakr (retd), Air Vice Marshal A.G. Idowu (retd), Air Vice Marshal A.M. Mamu, Air Vice Marshal, O.T. Oguntoyinbo, Air Vice Marshal T. Omenyi, Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun, Air Vice Marshal R.A. Ojuawo, and Air Vice Marshal J.A. Kayode-Beckley.
Others are: Air Commodore Sa Yushau (retd), Air Commodore A.O. Ogunjobi, Air Commodore G.M.D. Gwani, Air Commodore S.O. Makinde, Air Commodore A.Y. Lassa, Colonel N. Ashinze, and Lt. Colonel Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd).
Also to be investigated are: Himma Aboubakar, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, Messrs Syrius Technologies and Sky Experts Nig Ltd, among others.
According to the statement, the procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and characterized by irregularities and fraud, while in many cases, the items procured failed to meet their required purposes, especially the counter insurgency operations in the north east.