$2.1b arms deals: EFCC traces transfers to 11 foreign accounts in UK, US, Niger

Much of the $2.1billion arms funds put in care of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) by the Jonathan Administration was paid into 11 different accounts in the United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA) and Niger Republic, further probe of the money has revealed.

Dozens of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, top government functionaries and retired/serving military officers had earlier been linked with the sharing of the slush funds.

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Some of them are already facing charges in connection with the funds disbursement.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) which is investigating what became of the money which was originally earmarked for the procurement of arms to prosecute the anti-Boko Haram war has traced payment transfers to more the foreign accounts.

The agency may seek collaboration with its counterparts in other nations to determine the legality or otherwise of such transfers.

Although the payment mandates indicated that the wired funds were for technical equipment or supply of vehicles, the EFCC is interested in establishing whether or not the items were delivered and if the costs of the items were inflated or not.

Some of the transfers, according to sources, were effected through ONSA Foreign Operations Account No. 100367-USD-CABANK- with FBN Bank UK and a few others through the Central Bank of Nigeria and some commercial banks in the country.

Transfers being investigated are as follows:

:: $10million (July 11, 2014) BSIC-NIGER, Code Bank NE 110, Swift Code BSAHNENI, Account 020383700112)
:: $38million paid to Societe Nigerienne de Banque (H0064B0100125111123981/22 CODEBIC( May 20, 2014)
:: $16million to a different account in Societe Nigerienne de Banque (H0064B0100125111123981/41 CODEBIC (May 20, 2014)
:: €1,401,869 transferred to SONIBANK (Republique du Niger (October 2, 2013)
:: €1, 395,346.84 to another account in SONIBANK( Republique du Niger on December 11, 2013
:: €2,252,252.25 wired to SONIBANK (Republique du Niger) on April 1, 2014.
:: $36million remitted into CitiBank N.A.Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5LB on May 20,2014;
:: $5million to CitiBank N.A. Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5LB on June 4, 2014
:: $30million to CitiBank N.A.Canada Square, Canary Wharf London E14 5LB on March 9, 2015
:: $50million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company in New York on March 9, 2015
:: $6, 954,000 to Deutsche Bank Trust Company in New York on April 21, 2015

A reliable source in EFCC said: “We have succeeded in retrieving documents relating to some funds that were wired abroad by ONSA. We were able to identify more than 11 foreign accounts and the actual remittances.

“Already, we are tracking what the funds were used for including payment for technical equipment and supply of vehicles. Our investigation includes determining whether or not the equipment were bought and delivered; and whether the cost prices were inflated or not.

“This crucial aspect of investigation accounted for why some military officers were handed over to the EFCC for investigation.

“We are also collaborating with anti-corruption agencies in other jurisdictions to determine the validity of such transfers and confirm if the funds were not laundered.

“The EFCC is being painstaking in its investigation to ensure fairness to all suspects under probe.

Responding to a question, the source said:”the EFCC has recovered $2.3million from a suspect involved in the arms procurement contract scandal in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

“The affected person is a contractor and not one of the military officers referred to this agency.

He has more money to refund and we have decided to keep his identity under wraps until full recovery of the slush funds is made.

“We also do not want to reveal his identity in order not to jeopardize ongoing investigation.”

The presidency had handed over a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh and 17 others, including 11 serving senior military officers and 22 companies, to EFCC for investigation on the alleged $2.1billion arms deals.

Apart from Badeh, others under investigation are ex-Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal M.D. Umar; a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki ; Col. N. Ashinze , who was the Special Military Assistant to the ex-NSA; and a former Chief of Air Staff, A.N. Amosu; the most senior Air Force officer, AVM A. M. Mamu (the Chief of Administration); AVM O.T.Oguntoyinbo (former Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); AVM R.A. Ojuawo (Air Officer Tactical Air Command, Makurdi; AVM J.B. Adigun (former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting in NAF); and AVM JA Kayode-Beckley(Director, Armament Research in Air Force Research and Development Centre); AVM T Omenyi (MD, NAF Holdings) four top officers at the Defence Headquarters(DHQ), Air Cdre AO Ogunjobi; Air Cdre GMD Gwani; Air Cdre SO Makinde; and Air Cdre AY Lassa.



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