More retired and serving military officers under watch
Indications emerged at the weekend that the 27-man task force investigating the $2.1billion arms procurement scandal under the former National Security Adviser, NSA, have traced a whopping sum of N1trillion to the accounts allegedly owned by four EX- service chiefs.
The $2.1 billion is an amount budgeted for procurement of arms by the immediate past administration to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
A highly placed source at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told Nigerian Pilot that the task force investigating the arms deals in conjunction with the financial intelligence unit of the EFCC found about N1trillion of the missing money in the accounts of four former service chiefs. The money was allegedly paid into the military officers’ accounts domiciled in four new generation banks.
The source further said the affected service chiefs would soon be invited to explain all they know about the money found in their bank accounts as well as their involvements in the arms deals.
The former service chiefs were those in the Air Force, Navy and Army.
Apart from the Service chiefs, it was further gathered that more retired and serving military officers are also being investigated by the anti-graft agency and those found culpable would be invited for questioning.
For instance, the source explained that, “The commission has traced N400million to the account of a serving security operative. The shocking discovery was made just before the New Year.
“Efforts are still being made to trace other transactions. The motive is to go after some of these funds that are in private accounts.”
Recently, the EFCC picked up a serving Colonel and a German citizen in connection with the ongoing investigation into arms procured.
Sources said the duo are currently detained in connection with the training of 750 Special Forces in Belarus in 2015.
Another top operative of the commission said the commission had written to the Defence Headquarters and heads of the three services of the Armed Forces for the release of some personnel needed by the anti-graft agency to shed light on their roles in the arms procurement deal.
The Defence Headquarters had repeatedly said the present administration would not tolerate corruption, which it noted had retarded the development of the country.
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, told our correspondent on phone that the military was fully in support of the Federal Government’s campaign against corruption.
In a related development, Nigerian Pilot gathered that the EFCC would next week invite nine prominent northerners, who were mentioned in a letter which a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, wrote to the anti-graft agency.
Anenih had in the letter explained how he shared N260millio paid into his account by the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA during the tenure of Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
He alleged that he gave N63million to a group coordinated by a former Special Assistant to former President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai.
But Yakassai said he only got N53million not N63million from Anenih as alleged and that he used it for official purposes.
Yakassai said, “The amount being bandied about is not what was given to me. It is true Chief Anenih gave the committee of eminent persons, which I headed some funds for our assignment. The money being quoted is not what we received.
“The committee of nine persons, which I led, was given an assignment to reach out to traditional rulers on the need for them to ensure peaceful elections in their domains because there was tension prior to the 2015 general elections.
“We went round 18 states and Abuja where we met two persons in each of the states we visited. We started with the Sultan of Sokoto. We could not meet with traditional rulers in Gombe because on the day of our visit, Boko Haram attacked the town and there were reports that they were targeting the Government House, where we were at that time.
“The money the committee received was for logistics, such as transport and accommodation. We wrote a report after our assignment, which started on January 14 and ended on February 15, 2015; the records are there.”
The elder statesman said he was prepared to defend the activities of the committee when required to do so, stressing that the committee performed its assignment creditably and transparently.
Efforts to get response from the EFCC did not succeed as at the time of filling this report as calls to the mobile phone of its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren was not picked.