EFCC quizzes Badeh, Magu seeks UAE’s support over loot
IN line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive of January 15, 2016, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday began the interrogation of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Mashal Alex Badeh.
Badeh who has been on an administrative bail was asked to report back to the commission on Monday, February 8 .Meanwhile, pioneer chairman of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), and foundation member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Tom Ikimi was yesterday sighted at the EFCC headquarters in Wuse 2 Abuja.
Badeh had reported to the commission early yesterday following a formal invitation to him on Tuesday by the EFCC. He is being investigated in connection with the $2 billion and another N29 billion contract scam that allegedly occurred at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) between 2014 and 2015.
Badeh held office as Chief of Air Staff before his appointment as Chief of Defence Staff. This investigation is part of a larger investigation into the arms procurement that took place at the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The larger investigation which has involved former NSA Sambo Dasuki and many others is to the tune of $2.1 billion and another N643 billion.
Badeh is one of the 21 officials of the Nigeria Army and Air Force serving and retired that have been ordered to be probed by the president.
Others are Air Marshal M.D. Umar (rtd), Air Marshal A.N. Amosu (rtd), Maj- Gen. E.R. Chioba (rtd), Air Vice Mershal I. A. Balogun (rtd), AVM A.G. Tsakr (rtd), AVM A.G. Idowu (rtd), AVM A.M. Mamu, AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo, AVM T. Omenyi, AVM J.B. Adigun, AVM R.A. Ojuawo, AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley, Air Cdre. S.A. Yushau (rtd), Air Cdre. A.O. Ogunjobi, Air Cdre. GMD Gwani, Air Cdre. S.O. Makinde, Air Cdre. A.Y. Lassa , Col. N. Ashinze and Lt. Col. MS Dasuki (rtd).
It was not clear which issues were raised during his short visit yesterday. He was expected to answer questions bordering on “non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
“Furthermore, the procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud. In many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter-insurgency efforts in the North East.”
According to an EFCC insider, the interaction with Badeh lasted for “a short while” from the time he entered to interface with the team set up to grill him, but was shifted to Monday because “the commission and her investigators need to meet up with some logistic necessities, before the procedure would be completed.”
Some of the areas in tune with what the panel of inquiry outlined include, how 10 contracts totaling $930,500,690.00 were awarded; payment of N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts; procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00;four used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at $7,180,000.00 funded by Office f the National Security Adviser(ONSA); cannibalism of engines from NAF fleet to justify procurement of jets and excessive pricing of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar at $33million instead of $6million per one.
Others are: delivery of radars without vital components of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF); transfer of $2million to Mono Marine Corporation Nigeria Limited owned by some Air Force officers, N15billion spent on the maintenance of Alpha-Jets, C-130H aircraft and Mi-24V/35P helicopters as well as N2.5billion contracts awarded to Syrius Technologies among others.
A reliable source at the commission told The Guardian that though it was not yet clear what Ikimi was doing at the commission, he came in navy blue caftan accompanied by two men who are probably personal assistants.
He was said to have entered through the reception, and not through the chairman’s entrance as is usual with persons invited by the commission..
“We are not yet sure about his reason for coming today but anybody you see here is being investigated”, the source said.
Also, there are indications that the Federal Government and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE agreement to repatriate stolen funds, and suspected corrupt persons was taken a step further yesterday when EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu met with the UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Mahmud Muhammad Al- Mahmud during which both parties assured on commitment to carry the agreement through.
Magu said the commission had intelligence that the UAE was considered a safe haven by corrupt politically exposed persons in Nigeria.
“I have come to seek your support and cooperation just as we had in the case of Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, James Ibori, among others to get the mission accomplished”, Magu pleaded.
The UAE Ambassador, Al- Mahmud, pledged the support of his country for Nigeria’s anti-graft war saying: “No country can be an island on its own without the support of others.”
The probe into the arms procurement scam started with the arrest of former National Security Adviser (NSA) Dasuki Sambo in late 2015 by the Directorate of State Security (DSS) who handed him over to the EFCC.
The investigation then took a dramatic turn with subsequent arrest of Raymond Dokpesi who allegedly got N2.1 billion.
Soon to be seized as well were former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda , former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa and his son, former Defence Minister, Bello Haliru Mohammed and a former military administrator of Kaduna State, Jafaru Isa among others .
Also individuals and companies such as Messrs Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux, Himma Aboubakar, Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, Messrs Syrius Technologies, Dr Theresa A. Ittu, Sky Experts Nig Ltd, Omenyi Ifeanyi Tony, Huzee Nig Ltd, GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd, Gbujie Peter Obie, Onuri Samuel Ugochukwu, Spacewebs Interservices Ltd), Oguntoyinbo Tayo, Oguntoyinbo Funmi, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Jacobs Bola, Mono Marine Corporation Nig Ltd, Geonel Intergrated Services Ltd, Sachi Felicia, Mudaki Polycarp and Wolfgang Reinl were directed for investigation by the president.