Unless there is a last minute change of position by the Federal Government, three former heads of state will soon keep a date with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over their roles in the controversial $183million Halliburton deal.
The planned probe of the former leaders is based on their indictment by a panel that investigated the transactions, which started about 17 years ago.
Nigerian Pilot learnt that the anti-graft agency had reopened the case files of the ex-heads of state on the matter.
It was gathered that the EFCC will go after the leaders as soon as President Muhammadu Buhari forms his cabinet.
A dependable source at the commission disclosed that one of the demands by the United States governments is that the indicted former military heads of state and a civilian president should be prosecuted if they were found culpable in the scandal.
He said that President Buhari needs an Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to approve the fiat for their prosecution aside judges who are currently on their annual vacation.
The operatives said that President Buhari’s visit to the US is to engage President Barack Obama in talks on economic, security, financial and anti-graft issues, adding that he (Buhari) had ordered the preparation of the case file that would lead to the prosecution of the indicted persons in the bribery scandal.
Also, a senior official in the Federal Ministry of Justice has said that the President had allegedly given a directive, following a request by the US government of evidence to show that Buhari was ready to prosecute the suspects in Nigeria for their roles in the bribery scandal before it could partner other European countries in releasing the $141million allegedly looted from Nigeria and lodged in various overseas’ banks.
According to the source at Justice Ministry, based on the outcome of investigations by the panel set up to look into the scandal, President Buhari is scheduled to tell American officials during his current visit that all those indicted, including former heads of state, a former Vice President, two former Group Managing Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, will face prosecution.
To further convince the US officials that the kangaroo trial that took place during past administrations, which saw a former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to a President being arraigned and then let off the hook following alleged connivance of certain government institutions, will not recur, the President will tell them that private legal practitioners, who cannot be compromised because of past government patronage, will be hired to handle the case.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the recent directive by Buhari to reopen the Halliburton case led to the discovery that the $26.5million plea bargain money released by the oil servicing firm as part of efforts to shield the company from prosecution was not in the government’s coffers.


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