Following investigations on the alleged $2 billion arms deals scandal involving the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), four high-profile personalities have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). The arrested persons include: former Minister of State, Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Director of Finance and Admin in the NSA’s Office, Mr. Shauibu Salisu, son of former Sokoto State governor, Sagir Bafarawa, and ex-PDP chairman’s son, Abbah Mohammed.
All of them were nabbed yesterday evening by the EFCC, in the alleged theft of funds meant for procuring weapons for soldiers. The arrested persons were said to have received huge funds running into billions of naira from the office of the NSA without clear and detailed records on how the money were spent.
Yuguda was arrested over his alleged involvement in receipt of questionable large sum of money relating to purchase of arms by the office of the NSA to his private account. It was gathered that Yuguda received N1.5 billion from the office of the former NSA through an unknown firm. He also allegedly received N1.275billion from Stallion Group during the campaign for the last general election.
Yuguda, who was arrested by the anti-graft agency at about 4pm yesterday, is also accused of collecting N775 million from the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation without a specific purpose. Reports have it that he collected the monies between December 2014 and May 2015 during the regime of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
On his part, Sagir, the son of Attahiru Bafarawa was said to have acted as a front for his father when he collected about N4.6 billion from the NSA’s office. The EFCC says that although his father, Attahiru Bafarawa recently escaped their arrest, he is still on the list of ‘wanted persons’.
Abbah Mohammed, the son of Haliru Bello, was also picked by the EFCC over the allegation that he collected N600 million as a representative of Bam Properties Limited.
Shuaibu Salisu, a former director of finance and administration in the former NSA’s office, who was also arrested by the EFCC, was allegedly the co-signatory with Dasuki to the NSA’s office account, under whose watch those funds were released. In addition, Expensive properties in Abuja and Dubai were allegedly linked to the director. On the director’s arrest, the EFCC source said:
We just discovered a huge sum of money in foreign currencies in a joint account — being operated by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and a director in his office, one Shauibu Salisu. He is also being interrogated by EFCC operatives.”
According to the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, who was contacted last night on phone by The Leadership Newspaper, investigations are still on and the suspects will be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation. As at the time of filing this report, all the accused persons are still in custody of the EFCC in Abuja.
The former minister was arrested at about 4pm today (yesterday) and operatives of the EFCC are currently interrogating him at headquarters in Abuja,” Uwujaren said.
It could be recalled that Dasuki is currently in a hot soup, having been denied traveling abroad by security agents in the last few days, and is currently facing charges for the illegal possession of firearms and money laundering. He was also indicted by a presidential panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the procurement of arms by the armed forces and defence sector between 2007 to date. A preliminary report by the panel said the former NSA was at the helm of the procurement of several fictitious and failed contracts running into billions of dollars for arms and military hardware that were never supplied for the war against the insurgency in the North-east.
However, Dasuki has debunked the findings by the presidential committee, describing them as propaganda meant to tarnish his image. He has also stated that he has nothing incriminating to hide and vowed to defend himself before a duly constituted court of law. He also said while defending himself that all contracts and accruing payments on arms procurement were made based on the approval of Mr. Jonathan, adding that due process and military procurement regulations were followed in all the transactions.
Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment”.
Mr. Jonathan however said in Washington last week that his government never awarded any contract in the range of $2 billion dollars.
I did not award any $2 billion contract for procurement of weapons, Where did the money come from? I did not award a contract of $2billion for procurement of weapons”, he repeated emphatically.
Dasuki on November 3rd obtained a court order permitting him to travel abroad for medical treatment. However, the order was ignored by the Department of State Services (DSS), whose operatives have laid siege to his residence in Abuja for a month.
Moreover, a manhunt for former military chiefs was also said to have been launched by the Nigerian security agencies recently. The search is to enable them bring certain security officials to book for their roles in the arms deals that cost the nation billions of dollars. THISDAY reported that the suspects might have their movements restricted to the country, pending further interrogation and arraignment in court.