$2b arms: EFCC considers options on Jonathan investigation
Dokpesi 'to account for N10b publicity vote'
Commission probes Abacha loot diversion
Will the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invite ex-President Goodluck Jonathan to say all he knows about the controversial $2 billion arms deals?
Will the anti-graft agency take evidence from the ex-President in camera?
Will the EFCC allow its comprehensive investigations to be sufficient enough to try the suspects involved in the arms deals?
These are the options being weighed as the agency continues investigations into the armsgate.
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.”
There were hints last night that the EFCC had discovered that Dokpesi will have to account for about N10 billion votes for publicity.
A source said: ”We have been trying to reconcile records with Dokpesi and he has about N10 billion to account for.”
Apart from the payment of N2.1 billion, a highly-placed source within the Commission listed more issues against Dokpesi as follows: payment of $50 million by ex-President's campaign organisation; alleged plot to hack into number 60959146 with Sort Code 201334 belonging to one Dr. Haggai I. Ali with Barclays Bank, Queens Road Branch and Bristol, UK; alleged indebtedness of about N3.3 billion to Fidelity Bank out of N7.5 billion; operating DAAR Communications account alone despite the fact that it is a publicly quoted firm; and over-payment of more than N8 billion for the transmission of U-17 Junior World Cup (2009) and non -payment of dividends to shareholders.
The source added: “So far, Dokpesi has to account for over N10 billion and he has been confronted with some evidence which he admitted were some of the transactions he engaged in.
“We have discovered that Dokpesi was paid N8,047,275,290.99 on January 27, 2012 through account number 2017679134 with Maitama branch of First Bank Plc. We have proof of acknowledgement by the bank on January 28, 2012.
“In spite of the fact that the technical facilities used for the World Cup belonged to NTA, Dokpesi presented a bill which varied from N5 billion to N3.5 billion between 2009 and 2010 to N8.047 billion.
“Records showed that ex-President Umaru Yar'Adua rejected the bill and the National Broadcasting Commission advised against the payment of such outrageous amount.”
Asked when the suspects will be arraigned in court, the source simply said: “Very, very soon.”
The EFCC is probing fresh clues that some funds recovered from the late Gen. Abacha's screet 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.” THE NATION
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