The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday combed the Abuja residence of the former Chairman, DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, in continuation of its investigation into the controversial disbursement of $2bn arms procurement funds by the ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
It was gathered on Thursday in Abuja that Dokpesi was taken to his house in Abuja, where the operatives of the anti-graft agency searched the businessman’s residence for certain clues that might aid its probe.
It was not clear what the operatives looked for in the residence and if they succeeded in taking away any document.
After the search, the suspect was taken back to the EFCC headquarters, where he was kept overnight.
Dokpesi, had, in a statement on Wednesday, said the N2.1bn he collected from Dasuki’s office, was meant for publicity and media campaigns during the 2015 general elections, describing it as a contractual transaction.
A 13-man committee set up by the Office of the NSA to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and defence sector from 2007 to date had unearthed alleged illicit and fraudulent financial transactions on the purchase of arms during the period.
The committee had submitted an interim report to the Presidency.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, after the submission of the interim report, the total extra budgetary interventions so far articulated by the committee was estimated at N643.8bn
The committee also put the foreign currency component of the arms contracts at $2bn, an amount, it said, excluded grants from state governments and funds collected by the DSS and Police.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has arrested a former Chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety, Air Vice Marshal Salihu Atawodi (retd.), for alleged N600m arms scam.
It was learnt that the retired military officer was invited to the commission’s Abuja office by 11am on Thursday and was grilled for several hours.
A top operative of the commission said Atawodi was invited to the commission’s headquarters for alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.
He was alleged to have awarded contracts to the tune of N600m to one Alhaji Rabiu’s Hypertech Nigeria Limited for the procurement of military boats, which were not supplied.
The source said, “The commission is of the view that the contract for the supply of the military boats, which were awarded for N600m, were not supplied.
“He is being interrogated in connection with the alleged scam.”
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrest and the ongoing interrogation of the AVM.
Meanwhile, Dasuki has denied implicating anybody during his appearance at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the $2bn arms procurement probe.
According to an Abuja-based public relations outfit, PRNigeria, Dasuki spoke on Thursday through his lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN).
PRNigeria reported that not all the funds in the NSA office were spent on the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram.
It stated that part of the funds was spent on miscellaneous items such as refreshment and office maintenance.
Dasuki’s lawyer denied a report that the former NSA implicated some people in the statement he made at the EFCC on Wednesday.
Raji stated, “I was with Dasuki yesterday (Wednesday) and wish to make categorical statement that my client never made any statement of such nature or naming anybody or group in any statement.
“Quote me anywhere, Dasuki has not done anything like that. It is absolutely untrue. It is the figment of the imagination of the authors aimed at creating falsehood for reasons best known to them and Nigerians should disregard them.
“They are just out to scandalise the man, bring his image and character into disrepute so that his friends and well wishers can run away from him. They want him deserted and that will fail.”
A newspaper publication on Thursday claimed that Dasuki listed ex-governors and Peoples Democratic Party chiefs in the $2bn arms deals.
Also PRNigeria reported that not all funds in Office of the National Security Adviser were related to arms’ procurement.
It stated, “The ONSA manages several funds for national security and other special interventions, which are not related to Boko Haram arms procurement.’’