Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC are said to have turned down request by counsels to two former service chiefs that they are willing to refund part of the alleged looted funds to the coffers of the Federal Government in exchange for their freedom.
A highly placed source at the EFCC, during the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that two different lawyers (names withheld) had last week written to the acting chairman of the commission, ACP Ibrahim Magu pledging to 60 percent of the alleged looted funds but the chairman reportedly turned down the request.
According to the source, ACP Magu insisted that they must appear before the operatives of the commission and clear their names over alleged involvement in the arms deals scandal.
The source further added that the visibly angry Magu insisted that due process and rule of law must be followed in the investigations of the service chiefs and that plea bargain is not known to the Nigerian law and constitution. There were indications last Monday that the EFCC was collaborating with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit on the monitoring of bank accounts of military officers invited by the commission. He said the EFCC’s Special Task Force on the arms scandal probe had sent a list of individuals and companies whose accounts were being monitored.
The EFCC source said the commission would seek to freeze the accounts of any officer or companies that were found to be holding huge amounts of money as such a person would be required to provide explanation on such funds in the accounts. The source added, “The commission will definitely look into the financial operations of those indicted military personnel. “It might not be automatic to move against their accounts. Such a decision would be determined by the outcome of the investigation.”
The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, was not available on phone to give his explanation on the matter when our correspondent tried reaching him on his two lines. He said the Presidency just released the names of the affected military personnel for investigation and would not make any comment on the issue.
“I don’t have any comment on this issue. You know that the Presidency just released the names please,” he said. There have been fears among military officers since Friday when the report of the Presidential Panel on Arms Procurement was released. A top security source said there were mounting concerns about the career of the serving officers who were included in the list.
The source stated, “There is tension all over the place. The thing came as a shock to many of the top people whose names were published by the Presidency on Friday. President Muhammadu Buhari had recently ordered the EFCC to probe 17 serving and retired military officers, including the past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.); a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Dikko Umar (retd.); and the immediate-past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, (retd.), on alleged fraudulent arms purchases between 2007 and 2015. Others are Maj. Gen. E. R. Chioba (retd.); AVM I. A. Balogun (retd.); AVM A. G. Tsakr (retd.); and AVM A. G. Idowu (retd.).
The 11 serving officers, who are to be investigated by the EFCC, include Air Marshal A. M. Mamu (Chief of Administration, NAF); AVM Oguntoyinbo (former Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); AVM T. Omenyi (Managing Director, NAF Holdings); AVM J. B. Adigun (former Chief of Accounts and Budget); AVM R. A.Ojuawo (Air Force Tactical Air Command, Markudi); AVM J. A. Kayode-Beckley (Director, Armament Research in Air Force Research and Development Centre); Air Cdre A. O. Ogunjobi; Air Cdr G. M. D. Gwani; Air Cdr A.Y. Lassa and Col. N. Ashinze (Special Assistant to the former NSA, Dasuki), and Air Cdr. S. O. Makinde.
The President’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, had in a recent briefing on the scandal said 21 companies and their directors would be investigated by the EFCC. The presidential spokesman said the breaches identified by the audit committee included non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
Source – Nigeria Pilot.
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