Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole has urged the federal government to also prosecute former President Goodluck Jonathan and immediate past finance minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for approving spending of funds from the excess crude account without appropriation by the National Assembly.
This is just as the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday arrested the former national security adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) quizzed former Sokoto State governor Attahiru Bafarawa, and chairman, Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi in connection with the on-going arms deal investigation.
According to the governor, Jonathan and the former minister should be made to face law since it had been established that they made approvals for which billions of dollars released for the procurement of arms for counter-terrorism operations under Jonathan.
The former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) had admitted receiving an extra-budgetary allocation of $2.1 billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) within nine months after approvals by former President Jonathan.
Oshiomhole insisted that both Jonathan and Okonjo-Iweala must face prosecution because the Nigerian constitution does not empower the president to spend money not appropriated by the National Assembly.
“The issue is whether the Nigerian President under the constitution has the power to approve funds belonging to local, state and federal government- funds that have not been appropriated by the National Assembly. That is a criminal offense for which Okonjo-Iweala ought to face criminal prosecution. These things are just discussed and wished away. For me, I will stick for the truth and don’t care what people will say”, he stated.
Quoting the Money Laundering Act which stipulates that if one takes cash in excess of N5 million transaction, it is money laundering and it is criminal, the governor urged the federal government not to prosecute Dasuki without the former president and Okonjo-Iweala.
His words, “Talking about revelation, look at the letter credited to Dasuki – the immediate past National Security Adviser. In his defence which I read in your paper, he seems to admit that money was spent but it was approved by the President. Does the Nigerian constitution empower the President to spend money which has not been appropriated by the National Assembly? And they took cash from the CBN. The Money Laundering Act says if you take cash in excess of N5 million transaction, it is money laundering and it is criminal.
“So, by Dasuki’s letter, he has also confirmed that Okonjo-Iweala is a privy to spending money never appropriated and therefore criminal, and that cash were being moved contrary to the money laundering act. Just using Dasuki’s own defence, you can see a case of conspiracy has been established between Dasuki, Okonjo-Iweala and all those involved in that transaction,” Oshiomhole submitted.
SSS arrests Dasuki, as EFCC quizzes Bafarawa, Dokpesi, others
The Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday arrested the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) quizzed former Sokoto State governor Attahiru Bafarawa, and chairman, Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi in connection with their alleged involvement in the on going arms deal investigations.
Dasuki was said to have been arrested from his Abuja residence at about 10 am yesterday.
Others in custody of the EFCC also include, Shuaibu Salisu, Dasuki’s director of finance, Aminu Baba Kusa, a member of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mohammed Baba-Kusa, a former NNPC executive director, Abba M.T. Usman, Evegny Kundaev, Attahiru Maccido, Salisa Umar Garu, Oyinmiebl Bribena, Olukoya Olusegun Godwin, and Olukayode Raimi.
Sagir Bafarawa, son of former Sokoto Stake governor, Atahiru Bafarawa, was arrested on Monday over the same allegation. Sagir, according to the EFCC had allegedly received the sum of N4.6 billion from the office of the NSA, on his father’s behalf.
Former administration of President Goodluck Jonathan was said to have approved $2.2 billion for the procumbent of arms for the nation’s military to tackle the menace of Boko Haram. Bulk of the arms procurement deal were said to have been carried out by the office of the former NSA.
Dokpesi and Bafarawa (senior) were reported to have been picked from their respective houses in Abuja by separate teams of EFCC operatives at about 12pm yesterday.
The spokesman of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest of the three politicians to journalists, was not forthcoming with details of how and why the arrests were made. He however said all those arrested in connection with the crime were being investigated.
The notable Nigerians were taken to the headquarters of the EFCC where they were being quizzed on their involvement over the missing multi-billion-dollar arms deal.
Their arrests may have suggested that the worse may not have been heard of how dirty the arms deal had alledgely been.
Dokpesi was alleged to have received through one of the firms under Daar Communication Holdings, a sum of N2.1 billion from the office of the NSA when Dasuki was in charge during the administration of Jonathan.
But one of his lead lawyers, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has debunked the alleged claim, saying that his client did not take any arms contract from Dasuki.
It was not clear what Dokpesi, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was meant to do with the funds, even though his TV station had accepted and aired some damaging advertorials from the then ruing PDP that maligned incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari (then a candidate of the APC) which many other sister stations had avoided like a plague.
Dasuki may be arraigned in court today or tomorrow before Justice Adeniyi Ademola, where his suit, earlier filed asking the court for a permission to travel abroad for medical treatment, was granted.
Dokpesi was not arrested by EFCC but invited- Ozekhome
But his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has said that Dokpesi was not arrested but invited by the EFCC.
He said, “Chief Dokpesi was not arrested but invited by the EFCC. He went there on his own volition, voluntarily upon a mere phone call, asking him to see the acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu. The EFCC was trying to find out if there was any contract awarded to one of the firms under Daar Holdings from the office of the NSA. The firm later replied that there was no such contract in its record. The commission later demanded for the list of directors and same was made available to the agency. One of our lawyers accompanied Dokpesi to the EFCC and I believe that he will be released once he is through with the questioning.”
The EFCC have so far arrested 16 persons in connection with the alleged theft of billions of naira meant for the procurement of arms for the nation’s military that is currently battling to combat a homemade terror group.
Dokpesi’s arrest is politically motivated – PDP
Peoples Democartic Party (PDP) national publicity secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, has faulted Dokpesi’s arrest, saying that the action is tantamount to military style of pronouncement of guilt on Dokpesi before any fair hearing.
He said, “While the PDP is not against the war against corruption, we insist that the crusade must be carried out within the limits of the law and not as a guise to persecute and torture opposition elements in the country”.
“Our fear is that with the pronouncement of guilt even without being giving the opportunity within his rights as a citizen to state his own side of the story, the President Buhari-led government is sidestepping the laws to ensure that Dokpesi does not get justice in the court, a plot which they want to extend to other PDP leaders.
“The PDP therefore demands an open and public trial of all those arrested so that all issues and charges against them as well as their defence therein would also be in the public domain. We demand a proper investigation and lawful prosecution instead of the reprehensible resort to outright political persecution, which can only have a place in a military regime.”
Friends, political associates abandon Dasuki
But it seems no one is standing by Dasuki in this latest twist of event concerning the multibillion-dollar arms deal as his friends and close associates have suddenly abandoned him, Leadership investigations reveal.
Political associates, friends and relations of the embattled former NSA seemed to have distanced themselves from him as his chances of escaping the arms of law continued to nose-dive by the day.
According to an informed source close to ex-NSA, his political associates have left him in the cold: his friends and relations including those he worked with under the watch of Jonathan.
“Until his arrest today (yesterday), his residence had been deserted by political associates, friends and even relations for fear of being arrested or invited by security operatives,” one of his neighbours who does not want his name in print told our correspondent.
According to him, “Since the arrest of (former Sokoto state governor, Attahiru) Bafarawa’s son by the security people coupled with the reports that Boni Haruna who stood for him in the court was invited and questioned by those people, everyone who knows the man has been running away.”
Speaking further, the source disclosed that Dasuki’s wife and one of his children were the only ones living in the house adding that, “and even the son does not know what to do since he has been away from the country for his studies for years and only came in to look after his father’s health.
I am not involved in N60bn arms deal – Saraki
Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki has dissociated himself from the alleged N60 billion arms deal involving Dasuki .
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that contrary to reports published by SaharaReporters, he has no hands in the purchase of security equipment because in his entire political career he never served in any committee or body which has any link with defence or national security.
The statement reads in part, “As a member of the Seventh Senate, Saraki was not a member of any of the committees which have oversight function on the Ministry of Defence or the intelligence and national security apparatus. If he was tagged the leader of the opposition to the Jonathan administration, how then will he be privy to Arms purchases and have the influence to blackmail any government agency or institution over the release of funds.
“The Senate President would like to alert members of the public to this new plot by this particular online medium, SaharaReporters to tarnish his reputation as the medium and its sponsors pursue the singular objective of removing him from the office of the Senate President, an objective they have since failed to achieve within and outside the National Assembly”
“SaharaReporters and its sponsors chose to drag the Senate President to the issue of arms purchase by insinuating that he once blackmailed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give him and other Senators the sum of N250 million as a way of covering up the arbitrary withdrawal by the NSA from the security fund approved by the former President.
“First, there is no logic in SaharaReporters’ claim as Saraki who was persecuted by the last administration could not have had the influence and good standing to walk up to the Central Bank to demand for any money having exposed many atrocities of the past administration. Again, on what ground would the Senate President blackmail anyone for 250 Million naira? It must be emphasised here that Dr. Saraki will never engage in any sharp practice or issue which will warrant him to blackmail any individual or government institution.
“Therefore for record purposes, Dr. Saraki did not collect any money from any official of the CBN in respect of any arms deal. The Senate president also challenge SaharaReporters or any official of the apex bank, senator, serving or past, who witnessed or participated in any sharing of the alleged money purported to have been received by him, to come out with evidence.
“It should be recalled that SaharaReporters believe it can continue to disparage and defame people claiming that it is operating outside the country. The medium cannot operate above the law.
“This same medium had falsely published the data page of a forged passport it purportedly claimed belonged to Saraki. The Home Office in the United Kingdom has since written to confirm that the said passport, does not belong to the Senate president. Also, SaharaReporters once claimed that Saraki bribed some judges using a former Chief Justice of Nigeria as a front. The claim has since been proven to be false. Anybody who knows the reputation of the retired Justice in question knows that he cannot be used to pervert the cause of justice.
“It also claimed that Saraki tried to cover up the case of $20 billion missing NNPC fund and indeed collected “cash and gifts” from former President Goodluck Jonathan through Mr. Gilbert Chagoury when in actual fact the Senate president was the only member of the Senate committee who refused to sign the majority report of the Makarfi committee because he disagreed with the report which he believed did not address the matter. It is strange however that a man who dissociated himself from the probe report because he believed it amounted to a cover up was later accused by the same online medium as supporting attempts to hide the issue of the missing funds. This is not only completely false, but also a fiction concocted by SaharaReporters to defame Dr. Saraki.
“The game being played by SaharaReporters and its sponsors is clear. As they have done in previous cases involving the on-going trial of the Senate President at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, they are targeting the Appeal at the Supreme Court coming up on Thursday, December 3rd 2015. They want to prejudice the Supreme Court as they have done when they blackmailed a judge of the Federal High Court to withdraw from the case and also published false reports, which compelled the Court of Appeal to postpone its judgment at the last minute.
“Whatever the motive of SaharaReporters, it is high time we employed the instrument of the law to stop this act of impunity aimed at publishing false reports believing the victims will not go to court or be frustrated by its dubious claims that they are domiciled outside Nigeria.
“We urge all Nigerians and other well-meaning individuals across the globe to ignore this absolutely false claim by SaharaReporters. Like we earlier stated, this false claim shall not go unchallenged. We shall meet in court.
“We have allowed SaharaReporters enough latitude to indulge in their unscrupulous and mischievous method of journalism. However, enough is enough. We have no option than to commence legal action against SaharaReporters in all relevant jurisdictions, particularly on the issue of fake passport, false claim of bribery and the recent one on blackmail, all aimed at tarnishing the image of the Senate President.
“We need to put an end to this concerted mischief of defaming the person and good reputation of Senator Bukola Saraki. We will vigorously defend the integrity of the Senate President. We believe law and global best practices should guide these cyber-warriors. They have abused the docility of the law for too long. Enough is enough.”