Home » Latest Politics » N333bn arms scandal: Security agencies set to invite Badeh, others

N333bn arms scandal: Security agencies set to invite Badeh, others

Niyi Odebode and Fidelis Soriwei

There were indications on Wednesday that security agencies, including the police, were concluding arrangements to invite some former service chiefs, who were said to have been indicted by a committee, set up by President Muhammdu Buhari to probe arms procurement during the last administration.

Investigations showed that indicted service chiefs would be charged, while those who were not affected by the probe panel’s report might serve as witnesses during the trial of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki(retd.), and others said to be the masterminds of the alleged scam.
It was learnt that those, who might be invited, include ex-naval chiefs, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba, (2010-2013), and Vice Admiral Usman Jubril (2014-2015).

In the Air Force, former officers that may be invited include Air Marshal Mohammmed Dikko (2010-2012); Air Marshal Alex Badeh (2012-2013), who later became the Chief of Defence Staff, and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (2013-2015).

The police could not be reached on Wednesday for information on when the ex-military chiefs, said to be allegedly indicted by the report of the Presidential Arms Procurement Committee, would face interrogation over their involvement in the purchase of arms during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, did not respond to calls put through to her mobile while she had yet to respond to a text message sent to her as of the time of filing this report.

The arms procurement panel, which submitted its report on Tuesday, had indicted certain persons, chief among whom was the immediate ex-NSA, who, among other allegations, was said to have awarded about N333bn arms contracts, which the panel described as fictitious and phantom.

But Dasuki, who had initially been arraigned for illegal arms possession and money laundering, has faulted the report of the probe panel which indicted him of awarding fictitious contracts, 53 failed contracts, and payment for equipment without due process and proper documentation, among others.

Dasuki said in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday that all the contracts in question were executed and payments made with the approval of Jonathan.

The former NSA described the conclusions of the John Ode-led panel’s submission as baseless and lacking in diligence.

Dasuki explained that contrary to the claim by the panel, there were no fictitious contracts or diversion of contract sums as all the services acknowledged receipt of delivered items in writing in addition to the fact that the military agencies had their own contractors.

He alleged that the outcome of the report only showed the desperation of the Presidency to hang some former public and military officers, who served the country at great a risk to their lives.

Dasuki pointed out that if the members of the panel had invited him to appear before them, he would have given them the necessary documents to avoid some of their findings which he described as jaundiced.

He also faulted the panel’s claim that he awarded fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015, saying he was appointed NSA on June 22, 2012 and could not have awarded contracts before then.

Dasuki added, “To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM Jon Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions. If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.

“As if acting a script, the Presidency alleged that the panel accused Dasuki of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. Contrary to this claim, Dasuki was not the NSA in March 2012 and could not have awarded any contract in whatever name. The ex-NSA was appointed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012.

“All contracts and accruing payments were made with the approval of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. Once the ex-President approved, the former NSA paid. So, there was due process for every purchase in line with regulations guiding arms procurement for the Armed Forces.

“The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence.”

He explained that all the arms of the Armed Forces acknowledged that they received the weapons they had applied for.

“While awaiting judicial process on these allegations, it is proper to make some references to show that the Presidency is just desperate to hang some former public and military officers, who served this nation at the risk to their lives.

“It is laughable for the panel to assume that four Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were undelivered.”

He said it was his expectation that he should have been questioned if there were issues relating to the arms purchased under him.

Dasuki, who denied being a thief or a treasury looter, noted that he was just the clearing house for the purchases as all the contracts and the equipment purchased were done with Presidential approval.

Dasuki said the former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, acknowledged receipt of the four Alpha jets and the helicopters in a memo to the ONSA with reference no. NAF/905/D/CAS of November 28, 2014,

He stated that Amosu also confirmed receipt of ‘F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000’ on October 21, 2014.

The former NSA vowed to meet the Presidency in court, where he said he would defend himself.

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