President Muhammadu Buhari may have sealed all arrangements to sack two top officials serving in the current administration following their indictment in the final panel report of the arms deal probe, New Telegraph reports.
A 13-man Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces led by Air Vice Marshal J.O.N Ode (rtd), was established in August 2015, to audit defence equipment procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces, as well as the Ministry of Defence. The arms deal probe panel had on Sunday, October 23, handed in its final report to President Buhari which indicted some firms and influential officials of the present and immediate past administrations.
It made a recommendation for the indicted persons and firms to be prosecuted and made to return some huge amount of money, meanwhile, it is expected that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, will begin the investigation of those indicted as soon as the president releases the report of the arms probe.
As a result, The New telegraph gathered from highly placed sources, that the president is under intense pressure ease out his senior appointees found wanting in the final probe report. However, it was learnt that the President’s intolerance for corruption will take an upper hand as sweeping the matter under the carpet would be a contradiction to the ongoing anti-graft war.
Those knowledgeable about the final report are especially mad with the way public funds mapped out for the procurement of arms were allegedly mindlessly diverted or misapplied, as the case may be.
According to a source:
“Further to the indicted senior officials, it is most likely that Mr. President will excuse two top officials of his government.
“Don’t forget that his avowed commitment to the ongoing anti-corruption fight, is total. The president would not shield anybody from investigation and prosecution, no matter whose ox is gored.
“To say the least, the final report is too weighty and indicting, and those in the know are furious about startling discoveries.”
It was also gathered that the two top officials of the Buhari administration were quizzed by the probe panel just like other indicted persons.
Although there are fears that the panel report will be suppressed because of the calibre of people indicted in the latest report, a source has assured that Buhari will in no way tamper with it.
The arms deal probe cut across procurement of arms and related military contracts between 2007 and 2015 in the Ministry of Defence, Nigerian Army (NA), Nigerian Navy (NN), and Nigerian Air Force (NAF). The arms panel also probed the activities of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMS).
In addition to the two officials presently serving under Buhari’s government, the arms panel report also indicted a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), an ex-Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), some former ministers of defence, senior military officers, a permanent secretary, top officials of the Ministry of Defence and several contractors.
Some of the military top officers currently facing prosecution in relation to the arms scandal were also indicted in the final report. Some former officials of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) were equally indicted in the most recent report.