Dasuki, Yuguda, Bafarawa, son docked, remanded in custody
• EFCC accuses suspects of N13b arms fraud
• I received N100m for polls, says Odili
ANOTHER set of suspects in the arms deal scandal were in the dock yesterday. Those the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned at the Abuja High Court yesterday were an erstwhile National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, ex-Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, his son Sagir and their firm Dalhatu Investment. They were accused of complicity in the misappropriation of about N13 billion.
However, former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, yesterday denied collecting N100 million from Yuguda as alleged by the latter.
Odili, who was reacting yesterday to an allegation by Yuguda that he received his share of the money meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram insurgents, denied having anything to do with the former Minister of State for Finance as far as arms deal was concerned.
On Monday, the EFCC arraigned Dasuki, the Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),Aminu Baba-Kusa and Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Salisu Shuaibu.
Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday urged the Federal Government to adhere to the dictates of the rule of law in the trial of those accused of wrongdoings in the arms procurement scandal.
In a 22-count charge preferred against Yuguda, Bafarawa, Sagir and Dalhatu Investment by the EFCC, they were alleged to have unlawfully diverted the said money originally earmarked for the purchase of arms by the Office of the NSA.
The accused were said to have misappropriated the money between August 2013 and May 7, 2015. Upon their arraignment, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to each of the 22 counts bordering on conspiracy, dishonest receipt of stolen property in breach of sections 97 and 317 of the Penal Code Act as well as receipt of proceeds of criminal conducts in breach of section 17(b) of the EFCC Act.
After the accused had entered their plea, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed for an adjournment to enable him to assemble his witnesses. With the consent of all the parties, the trial judge Justice Peter Affen adjourned hearing in the bail application till today. He also ordered that the accused be kept in the custody of the EFCC until their bail applications are considered.
Part of the charge read: “That you Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) whilst being the National Security Adviser and Shuaibu Salisu whilst being the Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser between 14th April, 2014 and 7th May, 2015 in Abuja, entrusted with dominion over certain properties to wit: an aggregate sum of N3,350,000,000.00 being part of the funds in the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said properties when you transferred same to the account of Dalhatu Investment Limited with United Bank for Africa purporting same to be payment for the supply of security equipment and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol. 4, LFN 2004.
That you Dalhatu Investment Limited, Sagir Attahiru and Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, between 14 April, 2014 and 7th dishonestly received stolen property, to wit: an aggregate sum of N3,350,000,000.00 into your account with United Bank for Africa from the account of the office of the National Security Adviser with the Central Bank of Nigeria, which belonged to the Federal Government of Nigeria and knowing the said sum to be stolen property and purporting same to be payment for the supply of security equipment and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 317 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 532, Vol. 4, LFN 2004.”
Odili said though he collected the said amount, it was neither from Yuguda nor Dasuki but was money disbursed towards the preparations for 2015 general elections and given him in his capacity as Chairman of the South-South zone of the election mobilisation committee.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to some publications where a former Minister of State (Finance), Mr. Bashir Yuguda, was quoted to have said that he allegedly gave me the sum N100 million out of the money he purportedly collected from the former National Security Adviser and I wish to state:
“That I decided to personally sign this rebuttal because over the years, I had ignored various spurious and patently false reports against me because I knew that at the fullness of time, the truth would surely prevail.
I categorically state with all sense of responsibility that I have never had any dealings, private or business or official, with the former National Security Adviser. So, the issue of allegedly collecting N100 million from either the former NSA or Mr. Yuguda does not arise. As part of preparations towards the 2015 elections, the PDP set up contact and mobilisation committees across the six geo-political zones and I was appointed chairman of the South-South committee.
“Consequent upon this, the party, not the former NSA or Yuguda, gave the committee, through me, the sum of N100 million along with other zonal chairmen in the house of the national chairman, Dr. Adamu Muazu, for the assignment.
This amount was subsequently disbursed to the relevant party members from the zone for the assignment given by the party. I have the appointment letter and terms of reference, minutes of all the meetings, signatures of all the members and the report of the zonal committee, which was duly submitted to the party leader.
“I reiterate for the purpose of emphasis, that I had no dealings with the former NSA, neither did I collect any money from Yuguda. I challenge anyone who has any contrary evidence to produce it.”