$2bn Arms Deal: EFCC Weighs Option On Jonathan, Probes Abacha’s Loot Diversion
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is reportedly weighing options on how to question former President Goodluck Jonathan over the controversial $2 billion arms deals.
It was learnt that more suspects have named Dr. Jonathan in the approvals and withdrawals of huge cash from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and the Emeritus Chairman of Daar Communication, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, claimed that they got approvals for all projects they were accused of running.
The EFCC is said to have stumbled on fresh clues that some recovered funds from the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha’s family members might have been used for the arms purchase.
There were concerns last night that the votes being investigated might have been more than $2 billion.
The EFCC has asked some of the suspects to produce relevant written approvals from the ex-President on some of the expenditures.
It was learnt that some of the suspects acted on verbal approvals to carry out transactions.
“Either way, the EFCC may need to clarify a few things from the ex-President”, a source said last night. He pleaded not to be named because of the “sensitivity” of the matter.
It went on: “Some of the high-profile suspects have told us that they got approvals from the ex-President. Equity demands that we should hear from his side too.
“We are certainly weighing options to avoid any act capable of derailing these ongoing investigations. We can have audience with the ex-President in confidence; we may isolate issues for him to help us clarify in writing; he may also volunteer on his own to clear the air on a few issues through the highest quarters and we may allow our ongoing comprehensive investigations and evidence to be sufficient for prosecution. The onus will then be on the suspects to present written approvals in court.
“This is not the first time we will be investigating past presidents. We will draw our experience from the previous exercises. You know, we investigated two former heads of state and a prominent traditional ruler on the $184 million Halliburton case and none of them was invited. We handled it in a meticulous manner.”
A former member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), said: “The ex-President has expressed doubts on some of the approvals being bandied about. I think Jonathan has a way of reaching out to the Presidency in order not to overheat the polity. He will certainly do so.”
The EFCC is probing fresh clues that some funds recovered from the late Gen. Abacha’s secret accounts were diverted to arms purchase.
There are suspicions that the looted funds formed the main sources of extra-budgetary expenditures which were disbursed to some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2015 campaign.
It was gathered that following the recovery of the looted funds, running into billions of dollars, Jonathan raised a four-man team headed by ex-Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on how to use the loot.
Although there was pressure on the committee chairperson to divert the loot to security matters, she was said to have resisted the proposal.
It was, however, gathered that the committee later recommended that 60 per cent of the Abacha loot be used for development and 40 per cent for security challenges and arms purchase.
A source said: “We are looking into fresh clues that apart from the $2 billion, some looted funds recovered from the Abachas were also diverted into the arms purchase and other security-related needs.
“There are different clues we are probing. While some alleged that the looted funds were domiciled in the ONSA, others claimed that the funds were directly managed by the Presidency.
“We may check records at the Federal Ministry of Finance accordingly on Abacha loot.”