Saturday, March 19, 2016 11:03 am
Nigeria’s former ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP operated a government of grand larceny for the 16 years it was at the helms of affairs in the country. Recent revelations indicate that the last two years of PDP in power is a poster of that banditry
The stories of mindless looting are still unfolding.
They have been the fare of media headlines and have put operatives of the various anti graft agencies perpetually on alert and the courtrooms busy since the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari began to pry into management of Nigeria’s finances by his predecessors.
Indeed, hardly a day passes without another of such infamies coming to light in court documents or media headlines in the past five months or thereabout.
Just as many Nigerians thought that they have heard the last of it, last Tuesday, there were fresh revelations of how N3.145b was paid into the accounts of six chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Goodluck Support Group GSG, by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
The beneficiaries of the heist from the public till include Femi Fani Kayode, who got N840 million as the spokesperson of the campaign organization of former President Jonathan in the 2015 general elections. Other beneficiaries of the funds are former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Olu Falae; a former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman; a former Imo State Governor, Achike Udenwa; a former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Viola Onwuliri and Mr. Okey Ezenwa.
In the manner of “disguised” stealing peculiar to that era, which are now coming to light as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission intensified its probe of how the former administration of President Jonathan frittered away a chunk of the nation’s resources in the pursuit of his second term ambition, sources in the anti-graft agency, said the cash was paid by the CBN into the account of the Ministry of External Affairs Library, from where it was moved into the account of Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Limited.
The money was eventually shared out to various individuals and organizations from the account, which was domiciled with Zenith Bank, a newspaper report indicated last Tuesday.
Fani-Kayode’s N840million was paid in three tranches into his Zenith Bank, Maitama branch account with No.1004735721 with the first tranche of N350million hitting the account on February 19, 2015 while N250milion was also paid into the account on February19, 2015 and another N240million was paid into the account on March 19, 2015. The Goodluck Support Group allegedly received N320million while Chief Falae, even though not a member of PDP, allegedly received N100m through Marreco Limited, a company where he is chairman. The fund was credited into the company’s United Bank for Africa Plc account No. 1000627022 on March 25, 2014. Achike Udenwa, a former governor of Imo State and Viola Onwuliri, a minister in President Jonathan’s cabinet raked in N350million each in two tranches while another former minister, Nenadi Usman was paid N36.9 million through her Zenith Bank account no. 1000158311 on 7, Kachia Road, Kaduna. Caught virtually red- handed, Fani-Kayode had no choice, but to agree that he indeed received the funds which he said he was told was from the former President: “As far as I am concerned, it was campaign funds and the money was used for the purpose it was meant and we accounted for it to the man who gave us a job to do, President Jonathan.”
The Sokoto Prince at the centre of Dasukigate
The Sokoto Prince was appointed the NSA at the height of Boko Haram insurgency with many local governments across North East States under the control of the insurgents. As such, he was expected to bring his experience as a military officer and knowledge of Northern socio-political and religious milieu into his job to tackle the insurgents.
However, the reverse was the case. The insurgents became stronger for most parts of the about three years Dasuki was in the office while stories of poorly equipped and underfed Nigerian soldiers who fled during confrontation with them also made the rounds. Those not fortunate enough to escape the fury of the insurgents who were then bold enough to declare a large swathe of North East Nigeria their caliphate were mowed down by their superior weapons.
The chronic underfunding of the military in spite of the yearly humongous budgetary allocation for security was manifested in a series of mutiny by soldiers deployed to fight Boko Haram in various parts of North East in protests against poor equipment and welfare. At least, 5,000 soldiers were tried in the military courts and dismissed for being involved in such mutiny between 2013 and late 2015. Nearly all the dismissed soldiers have of recently been pardoned and recalled to the Army as it became clear that the authorities did not fulfill their own part of the bargain before sending the men to battle.
The funds that would have been used to equip soldiers to be able to stand up to the Boko Haram insurgents were either embezzled or used to fund activities of the then ruling PDP or the lascivious lifestyles of its officials.
Committee unearths big heist of military funds
At least, these have been the findings of the investigative committee President Buhari ordered to be set up by the office of the National Security Adviser less than three months after he assumed office. The committee was saddled with the task of investigating the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces from 2007 till the beginning of its work.
Specifically, the committee which was chaired by Air Vice Marshall J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) was saddled with the job of investigating allegations of non-adherence to correct equipment procurement procedures and the exclusion of relevant logistics branches from arms procurement under past administrations and acquisition of sub-standard and unserviceable equipment.
“The establishment of the investigative committee is in keeping with President Buhari’s determination to stamp out corruption and irregularities in Nigeria’s public service,” the presidency said in a statement.
The 13-man Committee released its interim report on November 2015. In the report, the Committee left no one in doubt about the mismanagement of funds that would have been used to procure weapons to fight the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Committee had particularly focused on funds received as special interventions by the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, in local and foreign currencies as interventions designed to help ramp up the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents.
The NSA and the armed forces received N643.8 billion and $2.2 billion during the period. The interventions, which as noted by the presidency were granted at the period Nigerian troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition excluded grants from the state governments and funds collected by the Department of State Security Services, DSS and the Police.
However, the Committee noted in the interim report that in spite of the “huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defence procurement.” Even then, the Committee in its findings discovered that of the 513 contracts awarded at the cost of $8.4 billion; N2. 2 trillion and €54,000.00 respectively by the office of the NSA and the Armed Forces during the period, 53 were failed contracts amounting to $2. 4 billion and N13. 7 billion respectively.
The former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements was found to have paid N3.9 billion to a single company.
In addition, the Committee noted that its investigations further revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, Dasuki awarded fictitious contracts worth N2. 2 billion, $1.7 billion and €9. 9 million respectively for procurement of four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition.
The Committee noted that the equipment was never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, as they are not in its inventory. “Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, two companies were awarded contracts to the tune of N350 million, $1.7 billion and €9. 9 million alone. This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded,” noted the Committee.
In addition, the former NSA, according to the Committee, also directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132.1 million and €9. 9 million to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America, according to its unexplained purposes. An enraged President Buhari ordered the arrest of Dasuki and all individuals connected to the fraudulent acts following the release of the report.
The presidency had noted that if the stolen funds had been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, needless deaths of thousands of Nigerian would have been avoided while the country would had also been spared the ridicule it has faced in the international community over its inability to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency.
A Failed CDS
But the blame for that shame, the Ode Committee revealed, will also be shared by the Generals who presided over the nation’s security affairs alongside the NSA, foremost of which is Air Chief Alexander Badeh.
On assumption of office as Chief of Defence Staff on January, 2016 Badeh had promised the nation that the Boko Haram insurgency would become history within six months under his watch. Indeed, he had given the April, 2014 date for the end of activities of the insurgent’s activities across Nigeria.
But rather than abate, the insurgents under Badeh’s watch grew stronger, and even declared a part of the country their Caliphate. In an ironic twist, the insurgents had also carried out one of their most heinous crimes to date- the kidnap of the over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State in the same month that the former CDS had promised to rout them out.
The insurgents had capped up what seemed to be a particular disdain for Badeh with attack on his village in Adamawa State during which they took over his personal house for a period. “I was head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an enemy that was invisible and embedded with the local populace,” Badeh said in a valedictory speech after President Buhari removed him from office on July 2015.
Killer Military Jets
In its second preliminary report, the Ode Committee indicated that even the little funds that could have been used by Badeh and his Air Force chiefs to help firm up the battle against Boko Haram were also either grossly mismanaged or fraudulently embezzled.
The Committee had in its first preliminary report discovered that Defence Headquarters and the Services between 2007 and 2015 received N643 billion and $2.1 billion interventions for procurements.
Excerpts of the report, which were also made available to the public last January by the presidency, showed that the Committee established that N29billion and $2billion of the amount were, spent on NAF procurement activities alone. The Committee had in the report accused Badeh, former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Adesola Amosu as well as the former NSA Dasuki of spending the funds on different sorts of fraudulent dealings in the guise of purchasing hardware for the military to fight the war against Boko Haram.
Also indicted by the Committee were another former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall M.D Umar and 13 other serving and retired military chiefs. The list includes Major-General E.R Chioba (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal I.A Balogun (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal A.G Tsakr (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal A.G Idowu (Rtd), Air Vice Marshal A.M Mamu, Air Vice Marshal O.T Oguntoyinbo, and Air Vice Marshal T Omenyi.
Others are Air Vice Marshal J.B Adigun, Air Vice Marshal R. A Ojuawo, Air Vice Marshal J .A Kayode-Beckley, Air Commodore A.O (equivalent of Brigadier-General in the Army) Ogunjobi, Air Commodore GMB Gwani, Air Commodore S.O Makinde and Air Commodore A.Y Lassa and Colonel are N Ashinze who was a military aide to the former NSA. Also indicted by the Committee are some individuals, companies and their directors believed to have abetted the military chiefs in the breach of standard procedures associated with the procurements by the ONSA and NAF.
The indicted companies and individuals, Messrs Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux, Himma Aboubakar, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, Messrs Syrius Technologies, Dr Theresa A. Ittu, Sky Experts Nig Ltd, Omenyi Ifeanyi Tony and Huzee Nig Ltd. Others were GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd, Gbujie Peter Obie, Onuri Samuel Ugochukwu, Spacewebs Interservices Ltd, Oguntoyinbo Tayo, Oguntoyinbo Funmi, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Jacobs Bola, Mono Marine Corporation Nig Ltd, Geonel Intergrated Services Ltd, Sachi Felicia, Mudaki Polycarp and Wolfgang Reinl.
Based on the second report, the President directed the EFCC and other relevant agencies to embark on the investigation of the indicted military chiefs, individuals and companies. The accusations against the indicted individuals and companies, as Mallam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the president on Media and Publicity outlined in a statement include gross abuse of procurement processes and non-adherence to Public Procurement Act to aid fraudulent activities.
“In many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter insurgency efforts in the North East,” Garba said in the statement.
An example was the procurement of helicopters undertaken by ONSA for NAF between January 2014 and February 2015 in 10 contracts worth $930.5 million awarded to Societe D’ Equipment Internationaux (SEI) Nig Ltd. The Committee however noted that the “Letters of award and End User Certificates for all the contracts issued by NAF and ONSA respectively did not reflect the contract sums.
Rather, it added that the contract sums were only reflected in the vendor’s invoices, all dated 19 March 2015, while some of the award letters also contained misleading delivery dates. This, the Committee noted, suggests “fraudulent intent in the award process. The observed discrepancies are in clear contravention of extant procurement regulations.”
Also, the Committee, according to the presidential spokesperson, discovered that the helicopters were bought at very exorbitant prices, with some virtually useless for the purposes they were procured for.
“The SEI contracts included procurement of two used Mi-24V Helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at the cost of $136,944,000.00. However, it was confirmed that the helicopters were excessively priced and not operationally air worthy at the time of delivery. A brand new unit of such helicopters goes for about $30 million.”
The Presidential spokesperson also disclosed that the Committee discovered that the helicopters were delivered without rotor blades and upgrade accessories:
“Additionally, the helicopters were undergoing upgrade while being deployed for operation in the North East without proper documentation. It was further established that as at date, only one of the helicopters is in service while the other crashed and claimed the lives of two NAF personnel.”
Amosu was particularly indicted for buying four Alpha-Jets at exorbitant prices. Worse still, only two of the aircraft have been delivered till date.
“The Committee established that ONSA also funded the procurement of four used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at the cost of $7.2 million. However, it was confirmed that only two of the Alpha-Jet aircraft were ferried to Nigeria after cannibalization of engines from NAF fleet. The Committee said this was contrary to the assertion of the former CAS that all the four Alpha Jets have been delivered to the Air Force. “The non-militarisation of the Alpha-Jets made them unsuitable for deployment to the North East and they are currently deployed only for training at NAF Kainji.
Furthermore, the procurement of the Alpha-Jets was contrary to the recommendation of the assessment team. The Committee found that the conduct of Air Marshal Amosu was deliberately misleading and unpatriotic.”
Also, the Committee established that contracts for the procurement of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar for the NAF awarded to GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd in April 2014 at the cost of $33m and funded by ONSA was grossly inflated. It noted that a complete set of such radars (comprising six radars including the Control Centre) goes for $6m on the average. This was aside the fact that the radars were delivered without the vital component of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) that distinguishes between own and adversary aircraft, which has significantly degraded the operational capabilities of the NAF in the North East.
“It was further observed that the sum of $3.3m was fraudulently included in the contract agreement as VAT and Withholding Tax and subsequently paid into the bank accounts of Spacewebs Interservices Ltd and Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd,” the committee further found.
The Committee established that $2m from the proceeds was transferred to Mono Marine Corporation Nig Ltd, which is jointly owned by principal characters in this deal. In the view of the Committee the infractions of extant regulations by these companies were clearly intended to defraud.”
The Committee said NAF claimed to have spent N15 billion between September 2009 and May 2015 on the maintenance of its Alpha-Jets, C-130H aircraft and Mi-24V/35P helicopters. But its investigations revealed that out of the N15 billion, over N4.4 billion was paid out for contracts not executed while over N2.5bn worth of the maintenance contracts were awarded to Syrius Technologies, a Ukrainian company that was not registered in Nigeria.
Even more worrisome, the Committee noted, was the fact that the hefty maintenance contract did not yield the expected improvements in the NAF fleet: “ Regrettably, in spite of these expenditures, the status of NAF fleet remained operationally appalling as only 3 Alpha-Jets, 2 C-130H and one each of Mi-24V and Mi-35P were serviceable as at 28 May 15.”
Another instance of unexecuted job, as unearthed by the Committee was the contract awarded to DICON for the supply of weapons and ammunition at the cost of N599.1 million in October, 2013.
The Committee said its investigations revealed that only two of the seven items in the contracts have been delivered till date and even, the delivered ammunition were about 40 years old, thus casting doubts on their shelf life.
“The failure of DICON to fully execute the contract and the delivery of aged ammunition diminished the capacity of the NAF in North East operation,” the Committee submitted.
As if the debilitating war against Boko Haram insurgents is not enough engagement, the Committee said it also discovered that top officers in the armed forces registered companies and were getting contracts from the ONSA and the NAF in clear cases of abuses of their offices for personal gains.
The Committee also revealed that an officer serving in the ONSA used his office to secure two contracts worth N6.3 billion and $5m for his company, Geonel Integrated Services Ltd, for protection of 20 dams and Presidential Air Fleet security. It added that some NAF officers also used their companies to collect VAT and Withholding Tax that were never remitted to FIRS while another officer was found to have cross transferred about N500m between a NAF company, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, SkyExperts Nig Ltd and Huzee Nig Ltd, companies in which he had personal interests.
In obedience to the directive of the President, EFCC operatives had in the past two months been busy with the interrogations of the military chiefs. The interrogation of the former CDS Badeh resulted in his arraignment in a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a 10 count charge related to diversion of N3.9 billion meant for the purchase of arms for the Nigerian military last Monday.
In the charge, which bordered on money laundering, criminal breach of trust and corruption, EFCC accused the former CDS of using funds assigned to the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion in Abuja.
“Mr. Badeh, while being the CDS, among other things between January and December, 2013, allegedly used dollar equivalent of the sum of N1.4billion (One Billion, One Hundred Million Naira) removed from the accounts of the Nigerian Air Force to purchase a mansion situated at No. 6, Ogun River Street, Off Danube Street, Maitama, Abuja,” the EFCC said in a statement Thursday.
The offence is in contravention of Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act, the anti-graft body said.
Badeh pleaded not guilty to the charge and was remanded in Kuje Prison custody by Justice Okon Abang, pending the fulfillment of his bail conditions. The anti graft agency had earlier seized some properties belonging to the former CDS.
On the other hand, it was not clear when the anti graft agency will arraign the former Chief of Air Staff in court. But the magazine gathered that the EFCC after subjecting Amosu to several days of investigations seized some properties belonging to him. The seizures were worth billions of naira.
Also, properties belonging to other Air chiefs indicted in the report of the Investigative Committee on weapons such as Air Vice Marshal J.B. Adigun, the ex-chief of accounts and budgeting of NAF, and Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, the former director of finance and budgets at NAF in choice parts of Lagos State and Abuja have also been seized.
The EFCC also said it recovered $117,000 cash from the Lagos home of Amosu while N381million was recovered from Omolara, his wife. Some reports also indicated that EFCC discovered and recovered N84 million from Gbadebo in the course of its investigations of the former NAF Finance chief.
Looting the CBN for Jonathan’s second term ambition
The arrest of Dasuki and others linked with the fraud allegations and their subsequent questioning by EFCC had yielded more information on what some had described as the looting of the national treasury to fund the 2015 general elections campaign of PDP.
For one, facts indicated that the $2.1 billion portion of the mismanaged funds was sourced from the account of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC domiciled with CBN on the orders of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Diezani Allison-Madueke, one of the closest Ministers to the former President and one of the subjects of several probes of corrupt dealings that characterized that administration supervised the oil corporation at the period. Documents already in the public domain indicated that the former President had approved the release of the extra budgetary spending of the over $2.1billion within nine months to Dasuki.
The President, as the documents indicated, approved the transfer of the funds to NSA, with his senior special assistant on administrative matters, Matt Aikhionbere, writing the covering letter conveying presidential consent to the corporation, after the president had approved Dasuki’s requests, the documents indicated.
Jonathan approved the release of $1 billion on March 27, 2014; $200 million on April 9, 2014; $600 million on May 5, 2014; and another $200 million on the same day when the former NSA made a request for $250 million.
Also, Dasuki again collected another sum of $100 million from the NNPC account on January 12, 2015. The former NSA had also in his statements to the EFCC, parts of which have been filed in court in his ongoing trial that the former President approved all his expenses, including payment for weapons.
“I did not award any $2 billion contract for procurement of weapons,” Jonathan stated at an event in Washington.
Yes, the President never awarded $2 billion contracts for procurement of weapons, but EFCC investigations had since indicated that he ordered the disbursing of the funds to his party chiefs for the purposes of campaign for 2015 elections as different cases that have been filed in court as well as confessions of top guns of Nigeria’s erstwhile ruling party have shown. Just as he was in the tick of the fraudulent weapons procurement, Dasuki had also been alleged to be pivotal to the disbursing of the funds under the guise of contracts awards.
The former NSA is being tried in two Federal Capital Territory High Courts on different charges bordering on money laundering and criminal breach of trusts. He is being tried alongside some of the beneficiaries of the largesse from his office.
The 19-count charge of breach of trust and laundering of N13.6 billion was filed against the former NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance and Administration in his office, Aminu Baba Kusa, a former General Manager, NNPC and Dasuki’s school mate; Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited last December. It detailed how the former NSA distributed funds that should have been used to acquire weapons to PDP chiefs and other cronies.
Also charged alongside Dasuki was Waripamowei Dudafa, former special adviser to President Jonathan who is said to be on the run. In the court papers, the anti graft agency had alleged that Messrs. Dasuki, Salisu and Dudafa withdrew N10 billion in foreign currency equivalent from the account of the NSA with the CBN on November 27, 2014 which they claimed to have distributed to PDP presidential primary election delegates. Salisu had earlier told operatives of EFCC how, on instruction of the former NSA, he collected $47m cash and the balance in Euro from the CBN in November 2014.
According to him, the fund was requested for “Special Services,” in a letter signed by Dasuki, addressed to the Governor of CBN. Also, EFCC also alleged in the charges that Dasuki and Salisu withdrew N2.120 billion from the NSA account with the CBN, between January 22 and March 19 which they paid into the account of Daar Investment and Holding Company Limited, owned by Chief Raymond Dokpesi, for the funding of the media activities for the 2015 presidential election campaign of the PDP.
In the same vein, Dasuki and the former director of finance were accused of withdrawing the sum of N90 million from the NSA’s account with Diamond Bank Plc which they remitted into the account of “Brains and Hammers Limited for the purchase of 7-bedroom duplex house at No. 11 Mansur Bamalli Drive (D1064), Apo 1, Abuja in the name of one Abubakar Atiku Dasuki who was identified as the son of the Sokoto Prince.
Also, the duo of Salisu and Dasuki were also accused of withdrawing the sum of N170 million from the NSA account with Skye Bank Plc in January 2014 and paying the money into the account of Urban Abode Nigeria Limited for the purchase of a four-bedroom duplex at plot 2562/2643, Platinum Villa (PV) Asokoro Abuja in the name of AVM M. N. Umaru.
EFCC also said its investigations revealed that Dasuki and Salisu illegally transferred the sum of N1.5 billion from the NSA account at Zenith Bank between October 9, 2014 and April 17 2015, to Acacia Holdings limited owned by one Aminu Baba Kusa as payment for organizing prayers.
They were also accused of transferring another N750 million on April 2015 to the account of Reliance Reference Hospital Limited also controlled by Baba Kusa for organizing prayers.
The charge against Dasuki and his co accused include transferring N380 million in the account of the NSA with CBN to the account of Belsha Nigeria Limited for “consultancy services,” in April, 2015 and payment of N670 million to the account of General Hydrocarbons Limited with Guaranty Trust Bank, GTB, controlled by Nduka Obaigbena, the publisher of ThisDay newspaper as payment for “energy consulting” on 12th August 2014 and 23rd March, 2015, from the NSA account with CBN.
The beneficiaries of the largesse from the office of the NSA also include a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, Tony Anenih who was paid N260 million from the NSA account with Skye Bank, Iyorchia Ayu, a former minister of internal affairs who was paid N345 million from the CBN account of NSA through the accounts of Starbird Limited with Stanbic IBTC Bank and GTB controlled by Emmanuel Lawani on his behalf.
The money that was purportedly payment for satellite charges and security equipment was said to have been deployed for construction of a shopping mall at Jabi, Abuja by Ayu.
In the second case at another FCT High Court, Dasuki, Salisu are being tried alongside a former minister of state for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, a former governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Bafarawa, and their company, Dalhatu Investment Limited. In the trial being presided over by Justice Peter Affen, the former NSA was accused in a 22-count charge of fraud, of stealing N5.05 billion between April 14, 2014 and May 7, 2015.
On the other hand, Yuguda, Bafarawa, his son, Sagir and their company, Dalhatu Investment Limited, were accused of receiving stolen property amounting to N4.633 billion from the office of the National Security Adviser in the same period.
Specifically, the former NSA and his finance director were accused by the EFCC of transferring N3.350 billion from the account of the NSA with CBN, to the account of Dalhatu Investment Limited with United Bank for Africa Plc as payment for phantom contract for the supply of security equipment between April 14, 2014 and May 7, 2015. The EFCC said the former Sokoto State governor; his son and their company collected the funds from the office of the NSA with knowledge that it was stolen.
Another N500 million, according to documents filed in court by the EFCC was transferred from the account of the NSA with Skye Bank to the account of Dalhatu Investment Limited with UBA on December 20 2014 also purportedly as payment for the supply of security equipment.
The NSA was also accused of paying N100 million to a company, Jabbama Ada Global, on the instruction of Yuguda, purportedly for the presidential campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party in Sokoto State while Bafarawa, Sagir, and their company Dalhatu Investment were also accused of dishonestly receiving N783 million between June 25 and August 20, 2014 into their account with UBA from the account of ONSA Imprest Main Account with the CBN on the instruction of the ex NSA. Other payments to the former Sokoto State Governor as indicated in the charges filed against him include receiving N100 million from Yuguda between February and April 2015 stolen government money which he used to campaign for the PDP in the North West Nigeria.
Payments by the ONSA to Yuguda and the companies linked to him include N400 million on 16 April 2015, N1.1 billion between February 5 and April 16 for the purpose of financing PDP campaigns in the 2015 general election and payment of N200 million on December 31, 2014 from the funds in the Federation Account Allocation Committee with Ecobank Plc to the account of Jabbama Ada Global, his personal company.
The former junior finance minister was also accused of dishonestly misappropriating the sum of $9,809,169, which was an equivalent of N1.95 billion belonging to the Nigerian government between December 23, 2014 and February 10, 2015 and alongside Dasuki, dishonestly misappropriating N1.675 billion which was transferred to the account of Vibrant Resources Limited with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, controlled by Abubakar Dasuki, the younger brother of the former NSA.
The money was also purportedly transferred as payment for the supply of security equipment.
All the accused persons have pleaded not guilty to all the charges against them in the two courts.
The EFCC had also in January arraigned a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Mohammed Bello and his son in court over the alleged $2.1 billion arms scam.
Bello and his son were arraigned on a four-count charge of receiving N300 million from ONSA on March 17, 2015.
The accused persons were arraigned alongside their company, Bam Projects and Properties Ltd.
Olisa Metuh, the spokesperson of the former ruling party, and Destra Investment Ltd., his company were arraigned on a seven-count charge of criminal breach of trust and money laundering by the EFCC, also in January.
The anti graft agency had in the charge accused Metuh of receiving the sum of N400 million and $2 million from the former NSA.
Anenih was listed as one of the recipients of payments from the N400 million received by Metuh from Dasuki.
During Metuh’s trial, a witness of the EFCC, Junaidu Sa’id had told the court how $47million was withdrawn from the CBN and disbursed to members of the PDP including Metuh for the purpose of the party’s presidential campaign.
“It was at that period that Dasuki withdrew $47million from the CBN which was shared to members of the party for the presidential convention that the commission traced the $2million paid to Destra Investment belonging to Metuh,” said Sa’id.
He added that four days after, the PDP spokesperson called his wealth manager with Diamond Bank identified as Nneka Nicole Ararume and gave her $2 million, which she converted into naira. Under cross examination by the lawyer to Metuh, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), the witness said that Metuh had written in his statement that the monies he received from the Office of the former NSA was for campaign activities as approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan and for the payment of his personal debt.
The EFCC operative also told the court that about N77.5 million was allegedly paid to a PR firm, CMC Connect for campaign publicity for the PDP while N25million was given to Abba Dabo, a former journalist for the same purpose. The PDP National Women’s Leader, Kema Chikwe also got N5million from the said money.
The witness also told the court that N500million was paid in two tranches to a firm, Daniel Ford International, by Metuh for the purchase of a landed property at Banana Island in Lagos State. Metuh had made a no case submission after the prosecution closed his case. But the court dismissed submission as it asked him to open its defence. Metuh will be defending himself against the allegations in the next few days.
Yes, we collected, but…
But some of the receivers of the funds have agreed that they were indeed beneficiaries of the largesse dished out from the office of Dasuki in the run-up to the 2015 general elections. For one, Anenih agreed that he indeed received N260 million from Dasuki.
But he was quick to add that it was a part refund for the N400 million he disbursed, on the instruction of Jonathan to elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; the National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae; and the leader of the Accord Party, Alhaji Rasheed Ladoja, among others ahead of the 2015 election in a letter to the EFCC.
Falae and Ladoja have in turn confirmed receiving N100 million each from the PDP leader while Yakassai took N63 million. Yakassai however said Anenih gave him and eight other northerners N53 million only which he said was for advocacy visit to northern traditional rulers to mobilise their subjects for 2015 general election.
Ladoja and Falae said the funds they received were to help mobilize their party men to support President Jonathan in the 2015 general elections.
Former governor of Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo who has now defected to the ruling APC also agreed that he collected the sum of N100m for “campaign logistics” to help Jonathan win the 2015 general elections. On his part, former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, also admitted that he received N100 million as the chairman of PDP South-South contact and mobilisation committee ahead of the 2015 general elections. But he affirmed that it was the party and not the former NSA or Yuguda who had reportedly confessed to EFCC that he gave him the N100 million as part of the funds he received from the ONSA that gave him the funds.
Obiagbena said the N670 million paid into the account of his company through the ONSA was a compensation for the attack on the office of his newspaper by Boko Haram insurgents and out of court settlement for newspapers seized by the military. The publisher said he collected the N120 million on behalf of members of Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN.
However, it was gathered that the media mogul who has been questioned by the EFCC is already making a refund to the federal government. Raymond Dokpesi, the Chairman of DAAR Communications has also insisted that the N2.1 billion he collected from the office of the NSA was a payment for the services provided to PDP. Metuh had also insisted that the payment made to him were for assignments he was given by President Jonathan.
Last Tuesday, there was another revelation that Dasuki was given N36 billion meant for building of dams by the Jonathan administration in 2014 in an audit report submitted to the National Assembly by Samuel Ukura, the Auditor-general of the Federation, a sure indication that the nation has not heard the last on the PDP’s years of locust.
The various revelations have put the former President on the spot and analysts believed it was only a matter of time before he will be called to defend himself against the allegations.
The author Oluokun can be reached at: [email protected]