Why we haven’t arrested suspects who laundered N35b arms funds, by EFCC
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has explained why top politicians and civil servants allegedly involved in the alleged laundering of N35 billion meant for arms procurement in the last administration have not been arrested.
A source in the anti-graft agency exclusively informed The Guardian yesterday that the commission had deployed some of its best investigators to wrap up the interrogation of the suspects before taking them in for arraignment in court.
The source, who declined to be named, revealed that a chief of staff to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Mike Aiyegbeni Oghiadomhe, and a former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Musa Kwakwanso, are among other top government officials who have been indicted in the case of conspiracy and diversion of public funds.
The suspects, who are already being questioned, were indicted in a case against Donald Peterson and his company, Richfield Technologies Limited, during investigations into the recommendations of the CADEP report by the EFCC.
In a fact sheet of the case obtained by The Guardian, it was learnt that sometime in June 2008, the Ministry of Defence obtained a N35billion loan bond from the Debt Management Office for the provision of logistics items and equipment for the Nigerian contingencies in peace keeping missions from which contracts were awarded and monies disbursed.
It was also revealed that some of the contracts were non-performing as the contractors could not deliver within the stipulated time assigned which ranged from three to six months.
Some of the contractors were accused of supplying substandard materials which were accepted by the ministry, but could not be utilized till date, while other contracts were terminated after full contract sums were paid to the contractors without any refund to the Ministry of Defence.
According to the report, Richfield Technologies Limited was awarded four contracts for the supply of equipment for peace-keeping operation amounting to about N1.4 billion.
The EFCC, upon receipt of the report, sent a letter to the Ministry of Defence for details of all peace-keeping contracts awarded from 2009 to 2015. Response was received and thoroughly analyzed. The contracts were identified and payments traced to the company’s account.
Letters of investigation activities were also written and dispatched to Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank where the company’s accounts are domiciled. Response were also received from the banks and the statements of accounts were analysed to ascertain how the suspect utilised the funds received from the ministry.
A follow-up letter was also sent requesting for instruments used in carrying out relevant transfers. The instruments were received and additional letters were sent to banks for statements of accounts of all beneficiaries as well as the account opening documents.
More letters of investigation activities were written and dispatched to the Abuja Geographic Information System to establish the owner of properties with links to the suspects. Another set of letters of investigation activities were written and dispatched to the Development Control Department for additional information on the properties.
Already, two case files containing details of the properties, the report noted have been sent to the legal department to initiate proceedings for final forfeiture.
According to the report, the suspect was invited and his confessional statement taken under caution. The summary of statements recorded from Donald Peterson reads: “He is a contractor and Managing Director of Richfleld Technologies Limited, VTB Export & Import Ltd, Freerose Limited and African Integrated Services Limited.”
Peterson stated under caution that he had executed many contracts for the Ministry of Defence which include supply of Terrex crane as well as truck recovery and communication equipment. He added that he completed the contracts and supplied two mosile cranes, two units of truck recovery, training simulator and communication equipment.
Peterson informed EFCC investigators that the supply of communication equipment was awarded to him at the sum of N1, 020,287, 357 on the 9th December 2010, while the equipment was purchased and supplied by Daltron World Communication USA and freighted to the Nigerian Army and was received at the Nigerian Army ordinance store in Lagos and completion certificate was issued with complete payment.
He added that the supply of truck recovery vehicle (10 tons) was awarded to him at the sum of N50,000,000.00, shipped from China and delivered to the Nigerian Army depot in Lagos with completion certificate issued to him and complete payment received.
He stated further that the supply of Tenex was awarded at the sum of N269,000,000.00, it was shipped from USA to the Nigerian Navy, Lagos with the completion certificate issued and complete payment made while the supply of trainer simulator was awarded at the cost of N433, 317, 213. 00 and the simulator was shipped from India, supplied and installed at the Naval base Apapa.
Peterson disclosed that 80 percent payment was made to him, while the final payment via a cheque that represents 20 percent was returned unpaid in December 2008. The contract for the supply of five units of fuel trailers was awarded at the cost of N85, 000, 000.00 and was shipped from China and supplied to the Nigerian Army depot, Lagos with completion certificate and complete payment made.
The suspect informed his interrogators that the contract for the supply of machine refueler was awarded to him at the cost of N320, 000, 000.00. He disclosed that the refueler was purchased and he called the Ministry of Defence for inspection in the USA. lnspectlon was done but waiver certificate was not given despite several letters he wrote. He said the trucks were attracting demurrage and the manufacturer sold them to offset the cost of demurrage after about two years.
He, however, said the officials later went for inspection without him and said they were no longer interested in buying the refueller through him as they would be dealing directly with the manufacturer.
He said the matter was reported to EFCC where an undertaking was written to refund the money. He disclosed that the simulator was taken to Sapele at the Navy Dockyard and put the cost at about N433,000,000.00. According to him, the two simulators installed in Lagos and Sapele are being used for training.
Peterson said contracts for the supply of arms and ammunition were awarded to his company, VTB Export at N533,000,000.00 and N778,000,000.00.
He revealed that he procured the arms and ammunition and invited the Ministry of Defence for inspection. He said he also reminded the ministry to make advance payment for the contracts but it did not. He claimed to have written them several letters before they opened a letter of credit for two of the contracts. “Ministry of Defence only made advance payment for one.”
The contractor told the investigators that he reminded the Ministry of Defence severally and wrote numerous letters on the demurrage on the goods and till date, he said, there has not been any response from the ministry.
Peterson explained that the two letters of credit were not utilized and he was not aware that the contracts had been terminated as no letter was sent to him or his company in that regard. He maintained that he was only given about N106,000,000.00 as advance payment for one of the contracts.
He said the supply of restitution impact maker by the ministry was awarded to his company and that he was to supply 450 units but the manufacturer wrote that they could only supply in sets of 1,200 units, and a supplementing agreement was entered with the Ministry of Defence with a promise to make the advance payment and open a letter of credit for the same.
According to Peterson, several letters were written to the ministry in that regard but nothing was done. He said that only the advance payment for the 450 units was made. He stated that about N6,000,000.00 was given to him as advance payment for the contract which had not been concluded because the ministry was yet to fulfill its obligation. The award of two contracts for the supply of arms and ammunition at a cost of N601,000,000.00 and 694,000,000.00 was executed. The contract for supply of 65units of air conditioners was executed.
The suspect said he could not remember the unit price but he had the documents. He said he imported the air conditioners from Guangzhou, China as he could not source them locally. He also could not remember the model.
Peterson stated further that he paid monies to some government officials for the contracts awarded. Among them are Oghiadomhe, through his son, Mike Oghiadomhe Jnr. Company, West African Business Platform.
He told his interrogators that he was called by Ogiadomhe’s son (Mike Ogiadomhe Jnr.) and told that all the contracts were awarded to the former chief of staff, Mike Oghiadomhe and that he was asked to present his company, Richfield Technologies Limited for the award and execution of the contracts.
Oghiadomhe Jnr. also allegedly secured some contracts for arms and ammunition from the Nigeria Police Headquarters. The contracts which were all below N50,000,000, totalled about 500,000,000.00.
Peterson also allegedly paid about N80, 000,000.00 to West African Business platform under the instruction of the former CoS and his son, Oghiadomhe Jnr.
The suspect also paid $240,000 cash to Oghiadomhe Jnr for his father and former Minister of Defence, Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) for facilitating the contracts.
The contractor further revealed that he paid a total cash of N40,000,000.00 each to Kofar Mata, the personal assistant to the then permanent secretary for, among others, the award of simulation supplies to Lagos.
Peterson said that the former Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sanusi, gave him three contracts which he executed on his behalf worth N120, 000,000.00.
The suspect further said that he paid N50,000,000.00 to the perm sec through Ibrahim Kofar Mata. He gave all the monies in cash to Alhaji Sanusi through Ibrahim Kofar Mata and was also asked to buy a Honda Accord from Honda Place for his wife. He was also asked to buy a Passat and a Jetta for Ibrahim Kofa Mata.
The suspect disclosed that he paid N30,000,000 in cash to Abba Yusuf (the former PA to former Minister of Defence, Alhaji Kwankwaso) for a N347,000,000.00 contract. He paid also N30,000,000 in cash to Abba Yusuf for the supply of aircraft refueler for the minister of defence. The star suspect said he withdrew the cash from his GT Bank account -Richfield Technology Limited and VTB Export and some from Spring Bank, now Heritage Bank.
Peterson said contracts were given to him to execute after paying the agreed sums.
On the aircraft refueler job, he said Alhaji Sanusi told him not to execute the contract but to pay him about N120,000,000.00 which he paid in cash through Ibrahim Kofar Mata.
He opined that when the EFCC investigated the contract, he went to him to inform him that there was need to give him back the cash he paid to him through Kofar Mata and he declined and stopped picking his calls.
Regarding the contract for the supply of arms and ammunition for which 20 percent advance payment was paid (about N106,000,000.00) to his company VTB, Peterson explained that the perm sec, Dr. Haruna Sanusi, directed the ministry to write to GT Bank Plc to discharge his company of the APG before the contract was executed.
He also stated that he withdrew about N50,000,000.00 which he handed over to lbrahim Kofarmata at GT Bank, Maitama Branch. He said the contract for the supply of air conditioner was executed for the former chief of staff, Oghidohme at the cost of N97,000,000.00 for 65 units and was told to give Major General Nguni the N10,000 000.00.
On the communication equipment, he paid out over N200,000,000.00 to Oghiadomhe through his company, West African Business Platform Ltd, account in GT Bank, Maitama branch.
He said he was told by Oghiadomhe Jnr that the then Minister of Defence, Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, wanted 10 percent of the value of the letter of credit of about of N2,400,000.00 which he gave promptly when the letter of credit was opened.
He said Oghidohme Jnr went to Kayode’s guest house in Asokoro, off Kwame Nkrumah Street where Mike Oghiadomhe handed over the $240,000.00 cash to the HMOD.
The suspect said he was instructed by the former perm sec, Ministry of Defence, Dr. Haruna Sanusi, to buy a Honda Accord car for his new wife which he did by paying through cheque of GT Bank or Heritage Bank. Honda Place delivered the car to him and Ibrahim Kofar Mata near the Ministry of Defence sometimes in 2007 or 2008.
Peterson said Kofar Mata insisted he had to buy him two cars since he was the one who introduced him (Peterson) to Dr. Sanusi which he bought at the cost of over N10,000,000.00.
The suspect said he started getting contract from the Ministry of Defence in 2002 when his friend introduced him to his father, T.Y. Danjuma and he was invited to tender or supply aviation fuel browser. From then he made friends in the ministry, especially Alhaji S.A. Andrew, the then secretary, tender board who later introduced him to Alhaji kwankwaso and his aides and also introduced him to lbrahim Kofar Mata. Through Mata, he became close to the former perm sec, Sanusi.
Peterson said he met Mike Oghiadomhe Jnr through a friend by name Prince Abiodun. At the time, Oghidohme was happy to meet him because both him and his father were looking for people who are worthy to act as fronts for them.
After the aircraft refueler contract was awarded, Peterson went to see Alhaji Kwankwaso in his office at the Ministry of Defence. He then asked him to deal with Abbah Yusuf on all matters that had to do with monies for him which he did. He gave Abbah Yusuf N30,000,000.00 at his former house in Asokoro and he also gave him huge amount of money which he could not remember