The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered $12.9billion more arms deals fraud during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, it was learnt yesterday.
The development has brought arms funds, which were diverted to other uses, to $15billion as the initial probe covered only $2.1billion.
As part of the ongoing investigation of the arms deals, the EFCC yesterday froze an account with $500million. The owner of the account was not immediately known.
The anti-graft commission has seized houses from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Besides, a wrist watch worth £600,000 and jewelry in gold and diamond have been confiscated from Mrs Alison-Madueke, a source said.
These details are contained in an update on the ongoing investigation of the arms deals by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
There are indications that many military officers may be questioned.
A source, who spoke in confidence on the investigation, said: “From our findings so far, the amount involved in the arms deals was over $15billion.
The $2.1billion which you have written so much about is just one transaction into an account in the First Bank of Nigeria in New York.
“They moved the money into the FBN account from where they were disbursing and re-routing the cash. Our priority is to recover these funds but we will still prosecute the individuals and companies involved.
“Most of these companies were incorporated by serving military officers and these officers were the sole signatories into the accounts of these companies.
“All these suspects are not showing remorse, they think that they can go away with the fraud but we won’t allow them.
“Yet when we interrogate them, you see them wearing pampers and cannot stand or walk in public for a long time. Then, you are tempted to ask why they have to steal all these funds meant for public projects.
“The Trauma Centre at the National Hospital with a helipad was built with N1.8billion; you can imagine how many of such centres and schools these looted funds can provide.”
The source also explained that the EFCC yesterday intercepted about $500million in an account and blocked it.
The source added: “Just some few hours ago, our investigators today (Tuesday) blocked an account with about $500million. We are already looking at all clues on how the cash was wired.
“What we have recovered in just one year is more than the total recovery by the EFCC since inception. There was huge looting which will affect the coming generation if the funds are not recovered.”
The source gave insights into the probe of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and businessman Jide Omokore.
”We have seized many houses belonging to Diezani and Omokore on Banana Island and other places. Also, a wristwatch of about £1.4million was seized from Omokore’s wife.
“From the former minister, we have retrieved a choice wrist watch worth £600,000 and jewelry in gold and diamond. We will soon show Nigerians all these items for them to appreciate what we have done and to learn some lessons.”
He explained that at the time the wrist watches were seized, the price tags were there.
EFCC seizes N2.6b MRI machine from ex-Chief of Air Staff Amosu
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized a N2.6billion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine from the Diagnostic Centre owned by a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
The anti-graft agency discovered that the MRI machine was bought with some of the funds meant for arms purchase.
The investigators claimed that while Amosu’s Diagnostic Centre has MRI equipment, none of the Air Force clinics nationwide could boast of such a state-of-the-art equipment.
Also, there were indications last night that a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh may automatically forfeit the controversial $1million(N318m) found in his house to the Federal Government.
Badeh, through his lawyer, Samuel O. Zibri (SAN) disowned ownership of the money.
According to EFCC investigation, some of the arms funds allegedly diverted by Amosu, were used to buy the MRI machine for the Diagnostic Centre.
MRI is a non-invasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
It was learnt that the centre might be confiscated by the government.
A top source in the EFCC said: “After thorough investigations, we have seized a MRI equipment of about N2.6billion from Amosu’s Diagnostic Centre. We were able to trace the purchase of the machine to some of the diverted funds meant for procurement of arms.
“We may also place the centre under temporary asset forfeiture pending the conclusion of the trial of the suspect.
“All these assets are apart from the N2.3billion, houses, $140,000 and N381m recovered from Amosu’s wife.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “The ex-Chief of Air Staff is still under investigation along with some military officers. We have not cleared him.”
Former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Badeh may automatically forfeit the controversial $1million(N318m) found in his house to the Federal Government.
The EFCC source said: “We retrieved the cash from Badeh’s residence in Maitama District of Abuja and the operation was witnessed by his neighbours.
“Now that he has denied having such, the cash will be automatically forfeited to the Federal Government.”
Badeh, through his lawyer, Samuel O. Zibri (SAN) disowned claims that the money was recovered from his home.
Zibri said: “Our attention has been drawn to a publication of March 7th 2016 to the effect that the sum of $1,000,000(One Million US Dollars) cash was recovered in the house of Air Chief Marshal A.S Badeh (Rtd). The said publication is not only malicious but wicked.
“It is totally false and smacks of media campaign of calumny against the person of Air Marshal Alex. Badeh (Rtd) The ten (10) count charge against our client along with the proof of evidence in the Federal High Court are public documents and can be accessed by the general public.
“There is no such allegation and we challenge the faceless EFCC official to substantiate his claim. The Trial has commenced and as a law abiding citizen our client will defend himself in accordance with the law.”
$12.9b •The fresh arms cash fraud uncovered by EFCC investigators
N2.6b •Cost of an MRI machine ‘seized from former Chief of Air Staff Adesola Amosu’
£600,000 •The worth of a wristwatch ‘seized from Mrs Alison-Madueke’
N2.3b •Part of the cash reportedly recovered from Amosu’s wife