The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has traced $1.6m to a former Director, Finance and Accounting at the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore S.A. Yushau (retd.).
Yushau was on February 17 moved to Lagos alongside the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), over a fresh investigation involving the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
As part of efforts to ensure improved security in the Nigerian maritime sector, NIMASA on August 26, 2013, signed an agreement with the Air Force with a view to providing effective air surveillance and monitoring of the nation’s coastal area.
In furtherance to the MoU, N4.4bn (in dollars and naira) was reportedly transferred from the bank account of NIMASA to the air force. However, EFCC investigations revealed that the money was diverted to private accounts.
Yushau, who was the Director of Finance and Accounts when the MoU was signed, was said to have diverted $1.6m which was transferred to the air force account by NIMASA shortly before his retirement.
A top source at the EFCC who spoke on the condition of anonymity that out of the money, Yushau gave $800,000 to Badeh.
He, however, said Badeh denied receiving the money.
The source said, “We traced about $1.6m to Yushau who was the Director of Finance and Accounts in 2013. In his statement, he said he gave $800,000 to Badeh while Badeh gave him permission to take another $800,000 as a retirement gift.
“He (Yushau) said he spent part of the money on building a house in his home state in the North but the building collapsed. He said he invested the remaining money in some businesses so we are trying to see if we can recover some of his assets.
“However, Badeh has denied the allegations and we are still holding him.”
The source said the anti-graft agency had traced about five properties in Abuja belonging to Badeh but added that the retired military officer had denied ownership of the properties.
“We have traced about five properties we believe were bought by Badeh through proxies but he has denied ownership of all the properties. Badeh is really giving us a tough time.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the EFCC was making frantic efforts to finalise investigations into the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
It will be recalled that the commission on January 28 arrested Amosu alongside 11 officers for his alleged role in the $2.1bn arms scam.
The EFCC subsequently obtained a holding charge giving it permission to hold Amosu and other officers for 30 days.
The 30 days will lapse on Monday.
The source said, “We still have a lot of investigations to do and we are not sure if we will be able to arraign Amosu next week. If we cannot do that, we will approach a court to grant us an extension.”
The investigation on Amosu focused on how 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690 were awarded; the payment of N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts; the procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00; and the excessive pricing of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar at $33m instead of $6m per one.
The EFCC has already seized some properties belonging to Amosu worth over N500m while N381m was recovered from a company owned by Amosu’s wife, Omolara.
Efforts to get the reaction of the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone did not go through.