Okonjo-Iweala releases public memo on arms deal; EFCC may be set to probe Okonjo-Iweala; I delivered 11 suitcases with $47m to Dasuki – Ex-NSA’s Finance Director; Arms procurement funds: Dasuki paid me N670m – ThisDay publisher . . .
Okonjo-Iweala releases public memo on arms deal
The former Finance Minister and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has released a memo in respect of the arms deal saga.
The former Minister in an email said thus:
Compliments. For the past week, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole and other compromised persons and media have embarked on a campaign of falsehood against Dr Okonjo-Iweala. They have distorted the contents of the January 20 memo in which she responded to a request by the former National Security Adviser and quoted selectively from the document to make their false allegations of “illegal diversion” of funds.
For your information and a fuller understanding of the issues, please see the January 20 memo by Dr Okonjo-Iweala as published. It confirms that Dr Okonjo-Iweala is a transparent person of integrity and patriotic professional who worked hard to protect the interest of the country and that her accusers are purveyors of falsehood on a political mission to tarnish an innocent patriot.
EFCC may be set to probe Okonjo-Iweala
The EFCC appears set to summon the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala to shed more light (if she was aware) on the issue of money laundering and what she probably knows about the arms budget said to have been diverted by stalwarts of one of Nigerian political parties, unarguably, the PDP.
Indications emerged last night that the Federal Government would extend its dragnet towards apprehending and prosecuting more individuals and groups which allegedly helped themselves with huge funds meant for the acquisition of arms for the armed forces, leaving the soldiers to fight with bare hands.
Already, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission probing how funds meant for arms were diverted and stolen by top politicians, have stumbled on fresh evidence that senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria were actively involved in the transfer of funds to the suspects.
The operatives are upset that rather than help to protect the fortunes of the country, the said officials aided and abetted politicians to bolt away with the nation’s scarce resources.
The agency also discovered that most of the records which the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, used in collecting the huge sums of public funds from the relevant government agencies and paying the sludge funds to the politicians, were not kept in the office of the embattled NSA.
It was learnt last night that EFCC operatives were set to summon the former Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala and some top officials of the CBN to shed more light on what they know about the arms budget said to have been diverted by bigwigs of one of the political parties.
I delivered 11 suitcases with $47m to Dasuki – Ex-NSA’s Finance Director
Cash estimated at $2billion meant for arms purchase was allegedly diverted by key government officials and politicians during the Dr. Goodluck Jonathan Presidency.
A former Director of Finance in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Mr. Shuaibu Salisu, said $47million was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 11 suit cases.
He said he suspected that the cash might have been given to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He, however, said as a civil servant, he was innocent because he only carried out instructions from the ex-National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.).
The Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Ishaq Bello, yesterday ordered that Salisu be either arraigned in a competent court of law if there is any basis for so doing or be released on administrative bail on terms to be settled by the applicant.
It was also discovered that N10 billion was withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections.
The payment of the N10 billion was authenticated by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has said she transferred $322 million from the Abacha loot to Dasuki, following instruction from ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.
Salisu opened up in a Statement of Witness/Accused he wrote under oath in the presence of investigators of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The statement was attached to the charges preferred against Salisu and filed in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in preparation for his arraignment by the EFCC today before Justice H.Y. Baba and Justice P.O. Affen.
Salisu, who said he did not benefit from all the slush funds from the CBN, said: “I could remember on the 20/11/2014 , I was directed by the NSA, M.S. Dasuki to go to the CBN and collect the sum of $47m in cash and the balance in Euro and the directive was obeyed and the monies were delivered to the NSA in about 11 suit cases.
“I acknowledged the receipt of the money from the CBN which was handed over to M.S. Dasuki.
“I think the monies were meant for PDP. After delivery, I left, I did not see or know when the money was distributed.
“I did not benefit even one cent. The request for the funds was tag(sic) Special Services signed by the NSA, M.S. Dasuki, addressed to the Governor of CBN.
“I did not know the source of the money into our CBN Account. The foreign currencies that I collected from the CBN were delivered to the NSA in his house, No. 13, John Kadiya Street, Asokoro.”
The Nation last night obtained memos of some of the curious withdrawals.
In a November 26, 2014 memo to the Central Bank Governor(NSA /366/S), the former NSA instructed as follows: “Further to our discussion, you are pleased requested to provide the sum of $47m cash out of the N10 billion and the balance in Euro to this office for special services.
“Mr. S.A Salisu, Director of Finance and Administration, is hereby authorised to sign and collect the amount. Please accept, Your Excellency , the assurances of my highest esteem.
In another April 10, 2015 letter, BPSD/CRC/ GEN/FMF/01/36 by the Banking and Payment System Department, the CBN authenticated payment mandate of N10billion to the ONSA for preparation for gubernatorial and State Assembly elections.
The letter, signed by CBN Director, Banking and Payments System Department, reads: “In accordance with your letters, Ref. No. HMF/FMF/082.F15276.7 and F.15276 respectively on the above subject, we forward herewith the following mandate for authentication. Mandate Ref. FD/LP(9/4/2015)-N5,000,000,000 to National Security Adviser Account No. 0029172241019, CBN; another N5,000,000,000 to National Security Adviser Account No. 1014199287, Zenith Bank, K-City Plaza, WUSE II Abuja.
“Purpose of payment: “Being amount released to the Office of National Security Adviser(ONSA) from the Signatory Bonus Account in preparation for the forthcoming Gubernatorial / State Assembly elections as approved by AGF.
“The Honourable Minister may wish to authenticate this mandate to enable the CBN remit the fund.”
In a short note to approve the request Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala simply said: “Authenticated” and signed.
There were indications last night that the EFCC may invite Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala “for clarifications”. She has openly admitted that she released $322million to ex-NSA Dasuki from the Abacha loot recovered.
“ We have to find out from her whether or not due process was followed. She also needs to tell the anti-graft agency whether such a release was appropriated or not,” a source told The Nation, pleading not to be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter.
Justice Ishaq Bello yesterday ordered that Salisu be either arraigned in a competent court of law if there is any basis for so doing or be released on administrative bail on terms to be settled by the applicant.
This followed an application for the enforcement of Salisu’s fundamental human rights by his counsel, A.U Mustapha.
Mustapha had sought for a declaration that the “ arrest and continuous detention of Salaisu by the EFCC from November 20, 2015 constitutes a gross volation of the applicant’s rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement respectively guaranteed under sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
“A declaration that the arrest and continuous detention of the applicant in custody without any charge since November 20 with a view to denying him freedom of movement as guaranteed by 1999 Constitution and .article 10(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights( Ratification and Enfircement) Act Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria is accordingly unlawful, unconstitutional and illegal.
“An order directing the the EFCC to release the applicant forthwith without any condition.
“An order as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the application.”
Arms procurement funds: Dasuki paid me N670m – ThisDay publisher
Why NSA Sambo Dasuki paid me N670 million – Nduka Obaigbena
The Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Thisday newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena (photo: above), has said the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, paid him N670 million as compensation for attacks on his newspaper’s offices in Abuja and Kaduna in 2012.
He said he also received compensation for the illegal seizure of newspapers by men of the armed forces.
Mr. Obaigbena made the disclosure while responding to an invitation by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) in connection to the ongoing probe into the usage of $2.1 billion arms procurement fund by the office of the NSA under Mr Dasuki.
Mr Dasuki, alongside so top officials of the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, and other former senior officials are currently being investigated for the alleged diversion of the fund.
Mr Obaigbena is the second owner of a mainstream media organisation, after the founder of DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television and Raypower radio network, Raymond Dokpesi, who have been mentioned in the investigation.
Mr Dokpesi, who is still in EFCC custody, is facing a six-count charge of fraud and money laundering in a federal High Court in Abuja.
In a letter, dated December 9, 2015, addressed to the Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Obaigbena explained that he was in the United States and would honour the invitation in person as soon as he returned to the country. He, however, stated that he thought it necessary to issue a statement prior to his return.
He denied to have ever received any suspicious funds from the office of the NSA adding that all funds he received were “payment for compensation to mitigate” terror attacks on the head office of his newspaper in Abuja and another attack on the newspaper’s office in Kaduna.
“N100,000,000 +N100,000,000 and N250,000,000 respectively received in August, November and February 2014 as compensation to mitigate the dastardly Boko Haram twin bombing of the Thisday newspapers offices in Abuja and Kaduna on Thursday April 26, 2012, during which four innocent Nigerian lives were lost, our building destroyed and we lost full colour Goss printing towers and three (3) pre-press Computer-To-Plate and auxiliary equipment and other (in)valuable property valued at over N2.5 billion having lost our printing facility to terrorists due to inadequate protection by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he wrote.
Mr Obaigbena added that he was compelled to make the request after the federal government spent N3 billion in reconstructing the United Nations office that was bombed by Boko Haram in August 2011.
He further wrote that he received additional N120 million in March 2015 on behalf of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and 12 newspapers who asked to be compensated for the “unlawful seizure and stoppage of circulation by armed soldiers in Abuja and several cities.”
Mr. Obaigbena explained that as the Chairman of NPAN, he did that to forestall a planned class action the newspapers were going to institute against the government.
He explained that on both occasions, former President Goodluck Jonathan initially refused to accede to the demands so as not to create a precedence but later approved the payment after he (Nduka) confronted him with the effort the government had undertaken to reconstruct the UN building.
“On both occasions, President Jonathaan said he did not wish to lay precedence and in our case, he specifically said there were many victims of Boko Haram, I had to confront President Jonathan on the Issue when I learnt of the approval for the reconstruction of the Abuja United Nations Building, since we were the second major organisation that would be attacked by Boko Haram after the UN attack. He therefore directed me to meet with the National Security Adviser who processed the three payments in question.”