Former Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security, Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi, yesterday, denied any link with the controversial $2.1 billion arms purchase deal in which former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), is being detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The former air chief claimed that he never worked under Dasuki in the office of the NSA and as such has nothing to do with the huge sum allegedly mismanaged.
Atawodi’s reaction was sequel to the usage of his photograph in some national dailies along with those already indicted by the presidential committee that probed the alleged arms purchase deal.
Speaking to judiciary correspondents in Abuja through his lawyer, Wahab Olatoye, Atawodi said he should not be linked with any negative issue that he knows nothing about while in and outside office.
Olatoye further stated that it was mischievous, embarrassing and unwarranted for anybody or group to have dragged his client into the alleged scandalous arms deal, adding that he had served the nation for years without any blemish.
His lawyer, however, admitted that a baseless and frivolous petition was written against his client in 2012 while he served as the chairman of PICOMMS under the late NSA, Major General Owoye Azazi, and that the petition after a thorough probe, was found worthless and thrown out by the investigating body.
Olatoye insisted that his client ‎was never indicted by the EFCC, ICPC or any other investigative panel and wondered why the retired air marshal could be linked to an issue in which he had not in any way participated in.
“It is true that Atawodi was investigated based on a petition written by one Rabiu Hassan, Managing Director of Hypertech Limited, over the purchase of K-38 patrol boats for the Nigerian Army and it is equally true that at the end of the probe, no shred of evidence could be used to link or establish any fraudulent activity against the retired air chief.
“As I am talking to you, EFCC and ICPC have not gotten anything against him and as such, it would be grossly unfair for anybody or group to link him with the monumental $2.1 billion arms purchase alleged fraud,” he stated.
Olatoye stated that Atawodi would have sued the petitioner for attempting to malign his reputation, but that the option was dropped when he suddenly withdrew the petition.