Arms scandal: EFCC plans to write ex-President Jonathan

By The Citizen

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission may write former President Goodluck Jonathan in connection with its ongoing investigation into arms procurement scam, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was gathered that the commission was planning to write the former President because his name had consistently featured in the interrogation of some suspects.

A former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was reported to have said he disbursed funds from his office based on the instruction of the former President.

Also, a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had two weeks ago, said she transferred money to the former NSA as a result of a decision reached at a meeting presided over by Jonathan.

An EFCC source said, 'Although the commission will not invite the former President, we may write him to tell us his own side of the story because his name has been coming up in our investigations?'

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The source, however, said the commission would need to seek 'clearance' from President Muhammadu Buhari before such letter could be sent to Jonathan.

Meanwhile, the EFCC is also concluding arrangements to invite some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party.

It was gathered on Sunday that the planned invitation of the PDP stalwarts was part of the ongoing investigations into the arms procurement scam and the party's 2015 presidential campaign fund.

Our correspondent learnt that the commission had compiled a list of the PDP chieftains to be invited while the anti-graft agency was awaiting directives to summon them.

The source added that the party's chiefs might appear before the commission this week.

The top source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that it was the operational procedure of the EFCC to invite all those whose names were mentioned in the process of the investigation.

He explained that those whose names were mentioned, such as the former Board of Trustees Chairman of the party, Chief Tony Anenih; a former Deputy National Chairman, Chief Bode George, and others, who were alleged to have received part of the funds meant for arms procurement, would be questioned.

The source stated that inviting those mentioned did not necessarily mean an indictment but part of the process of investigation designed to unearth the truth.

He added, 'You see, this is an investigation. In a situation like this, the commission has a thin chance of not inviting those whose names have been thrown up.

'They have to be invited to make clarifications; it does not necessarily mean that they have been indicted but it is only a standard procedure for them to appear to make clarifications where necessary.

'I think by now, Anenih, Bode George and all those who were mentioned during the investigation should have been invited but the commission has not been given the directive to pick them up.

'They know what they are doing. Anytime from now, possibly this week, they will be invited.'

The EFCC arraigned functionaries of Jonathan's administration, who had been mentioned as having a connection with the $2.2bn funds, said to have been meant to purchase arms to fight the Boko Haram terrorists during the past administration.

These include Dasuki, a former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda; and a former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa.

Others arraigned are Bafarawa's son, Sagir; and the founding chairman, DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

Yuguda was on November 14 reported to have said he gave N600m to six chairmen of the contact and mobilisation committees of the PDP in the 2015 elections.

He was reported to have listed George (South-West); Yerima Abdulahi (North-East); Peter Odili (South-South); Senator Jim Nwobodo (South-East), and Attahiru Bafarawa (North-West) as beneficiaries of the fund disbursement.

Nwobodo, a former governor of the old Anambra State, has said he received an equivalent of N100m (in dollars) from ex-National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mua'azu, and not from Yuguda.

On his part, George, in a statement on December 14, denied collecting N100m from Yuguda.

He said the former minister gave the PDP Contact and Mobilisation committee $30,000.

Meanwhile, the EFCC is still detaining the Managing Director of Stallion Group, Harprrie Singh, over an alleged N1.75bn gift to Yuguda.

Investigations revealed that the commission was still holding the Stallion Group MD as of the close of work on Friday.

It was gathered that the commission would invite heads of more conglomerates this week in connection with the arms probe scam.

A top operative of the commission confided in our correspondent on Sunday that the commission had not released the Stallion MD because investigation into the controversial gift was still ongoing.

The source said, 'The man has not been released. He was still with the commission during the close of work on Friday. It would be very unlikely for them to release him at the weekend, especially when the investigation has not been concluded.'

The EFCC on Thursday arrested Singh for a N1.3bn gift to Yuguda. The money was said to have been given to the former minister through Dasuki.

Our correspondent could not get the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, to comment on the planned invitation of the PDP chiefs as calls to his mobile telephone did not connect. Punch