$2.1bn Arms Deal: Jonathan Under Attack For Defending Dasuki
Condemnation on Tuesday greeted the comments by former President Goodluck Jonathan that a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd,), did not steal $2.1bn contrary to the accusation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, currently prosecuting the ex-NSA.
Jonathan had stated that it was inconceivable to say that Dasuki stole $2.2bn, contending that his government, where Dasuki served as the NSA, bought warships, aircraft and a lot of equipment for the military during the period.
Dasuki, who has been in detention since mid-2015, is being prosecuted by the EFCC for alleged diversion of arms fund, totalling $2.1bn.
Jonathan argued that it would not be right to say that $2.2bn was stolen with the equipment and arms bought by his administration when he delivered a lecture on Youth Entrepreneurship at the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom on Tuesday.
Jonathan, in a statement by an Abuja-based public relations outfit, the PR Nigeria, said he had kept quiet to allow the court to handle the ongoing prosecution of the former NSA so as not to be seen as a former President challenging a sitting administration.
But the Presidency called on Jonathan to allow the court to decide the fate of his former NSA.
When asked to react to the comment, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the courts should be allowed to decide the matter which he said was subjudice.
“The matter is subjudice. Let the courts decide,” the presidential spokesman said.
The All Progressives Congress and the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff led faction of the PDP, a party the ex-President belongs to, also asked him to allow the court to do its job in the trial of Dasuki and other suspects, accused of benefiting from the arms cash diversion.
The former President admitted that while it was true that there were some corruption cases during his administration, some of the cases were exaggerated.
Jonathan said, “They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.2bn. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion.
‘‘We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the Army and so on and so forth and you are still saying $2.2bn (was stolen). So, where did we get the money to buy all those things?
“One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court. Let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately, some judges’ homes were also invaded. There are so many things involved and we have to follow up these matters to conclusion before we know the fact.
“Yes, there were some issues. Yes, there are still corruption issues but some of it were over blown; I would say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2bn. It is not just possible.”
Also, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mr. Timi Frank, urged Jonathan to assist Dasuki to make his case in court.
Frank said it was not enough for the ex-President to say his former NSA didn’t steal the $2.1bn, but it would be more appropriate to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the case.
He said, “First, I wonder why it took former President Jonathan such a long time to speak out. Why now? If Colonel Dasuki is as clean as he wants us to believe, it would be nice if he can assist his former NSA to prove his case in court.
“The courts deal with evidence; let them prove their case.”