SAN FRANCISCO, February 08, (THEWILL) – Investigators at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday questioned a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh and detained him at the anti-graft agency’s Abuja headquarters.
Badeh, who served under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, is being investigated in connection with the alleged misappropriation of the $2.1 billion earmarked for the procurement of weapons to fight terrorism.
The EFCC had previously detained a former Chief of Air Staff, retired Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosun as well some other serving and retired officers over the same matter. Amosun has been in the custody of the EFCC for over a week.
The principal suspect in the alleged misappropriation scandal is the erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, who is presently facing trial.
Meanwhile, in a related development, investigators are eager to question erstwhile Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over her role in the scandal, particularly how €3,654,121 million in cash was withdrawn from the account of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) at the CBN during the tenure of former Governor Lamido Sanusi, for the purchase of vehicles for the Republic of Niger in October 2013 and April 2014.
The cash was withdrawn in two installments of €1, 401,869 and €2,252,252.25. According to a report in The Nation newspaper, the EFCC is also seeking to verify whether or not the vehicles were bought and under diplomatic or bilateral security cooperation.
The report said the EFCC also wants to grill some former service chiefs as well as serving senior officers over the scandal.
“We are beginning the second phase of the ongoing investigation of the $2.1b arms deals on Monday. From the preliminary findings, the scandal is mind-boggling.
“We are going to question more high-profile serving and former public officers, including a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on the release of some funds.
“We want the ex-Minister to shed more light on how about $322million was disbursed to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
“Some serving and former military chiefs will have to respond to issues which we have already isolated for clarification,” the newspaper said, quoting an insider.
According to the report, the initial cash of €1, 401,869 was drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria in an October 2013 through ONSA memo ACCT/87/VOL.1/384, while the second tranche of €2,252,252.25 was obtained from the CBN in an April 1, 2014 via a memo ACCT/87/VOL.1/60.
The first memo to the CBN Governor, “Transfer of foreign exchange”, said: “You are please requested to transfer the sum of €1, 401,869.00 only in favour of SEI Societe d’equipments Internanaux-Niamey-Niger BP 11737 as payment for the supply of security vehicles to Republic of Niger. The wire transfer details are as follows: Banque: SONIBANK (Republique du Niger-Niamey). Compete N025111123981/22. Code Banque:80064. Code Guichrt: 01001.
“The amount should be charged to National Security Adviser Account no. 0020172241019 with the Central Bank of Nigeria Abuja and all charges thereto.
The second memo said: “You are please requested to transfer the sum of €2, 252, 252.25 only in favour of SEI Societe d’equipments Internanaux-Niamey-Niger BP 11737 as payment for the supply of security vehicles to Republic of Niger. The wire transfer details are as follows: Banque: SONIBANK (Republique du Niger-Niamey). Compete N025111123981/22. Code Banque: 80064. Code Guichrt: 01001.
“The amount should be charged to National Security Adviser Account no. 0020172241019 with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Abuja and all charges thereto.
“Please accept the assurances of the National Security Adviser.”
Okonjo-Iweala Says Media Reports On Her Investigation By EFCC Are Misleading, Untrue
“We want to clarify that some of the media reports alleging that the EFCC is investigating former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are misleading and untrue. This is clear from eye witness accounts of the Budget 2016 presentation by the EFCC at the House of Representatives and gaps in the reported stories.
The headlines are a misrepresentation of what the EFCC Chairman actually said during the event.
While the headlines claimed that the EFCC Chairman, in response to a question by an APC, member Hon Razak Atunwa, stated that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is under investigation, the actual words quoted in the same reports told a very different story.
“Very soon we will go into the petroleum industry. Such investigation requires that we have to build capacity, we have to bring in experts to enable us tackle what we are doing properly and the investigation must be conducted properly. We have internal lawyers and external lawyers. We have to pay insurance…”
“The words said to have been spoken by the EFCC Chairman cannot support the lurid headlines that Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is under investigation by the EFCC.
The Nigerian media plays an important role in our democracy and we urge them to be fair, balanced and factual in their reports.
Paul C Nwabuikwu
Media Adviser to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.”