Presidential panel uncovers 'enormous' fraud in Nigerian army

– The panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe arms procurement between 2007 and 2015 has allegedly uncovered massive fraud in the army

– The presidential panel had erlier found out that the total amount involved in arms fraud was $15bn and not $2.1bn

– According to the report submitted by the panel, $15bn arms funds were diverted by top military officers

– A source revealed that Buhari had directed the panel to change tactics and prosecute indicted persons immediately instead of first publicizing their names
EFCC1
A massive fraud has been allegedly uncovered by a panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe arms procurement between 2007 and 2015.

The presidential panel had earlier submitted two reports on its probe to Buhari: the first interim report was submitted in November 2015, while the second one – in January 2016.

Following the submission of the second report, Buhari had ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate 18 serving and retired military officers, mainly from the air force.

The Punch reports that the panel headed by Air Vice Marshal J. O. Ode (retd.) was concluding work on the probe of the Nigerian army. During the investigation, the panel found out that the total amount involved in arms fraud was $15bn and not $2.1bn. According to the report, $15bn arms funds were diverted by top military officers.

Speaking with journalists on Sunday, May 1, a top government official, who pleaded for anonymity, described the fraud uncovered by the panel in the purchase of arms in the army as “enormous.”
When asked when the third report would be submitted to the president and be made public, the source revealed that Buhari had directed the panel to change tactics.

“The president has directed that we explore the option of prosecuting indicted persons immediately instead of first publicizing their names, thereby giving some of them the leeway to escape justice,” he said.

The source added that last week, the committee discussed the prosecution of the freshly indicted people with Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation.

He noted that efforts were ongoing to make public some achievements of the panel, especially in the recovery of funds, ahead of a summit on anti-corruption that President Buhari would attend in the United Kingdom next week.

Meanwhile, the EFCC operatives are still investigating how the Peoples Democratic Party allegedly bribed some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the presidential election in 2015. On Friday, April 29, the anti-graft agency arrested Laitan Adesanya, the chief executive officer of Lenoil Nigeria Limited, for his alleged role in the $115m (N23bn) bribe funds.

Adesanya was alleged to have handed $1.85m to the bank based on the instruction of a former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. A reliable source at the EFCC confirmed that Adesanya was in the custody of the commission in Lagos, where he was being grilled by the operatives.

“We are asking him about the $1.85m he dropped and what purpose it was supposed to serve,” he said. In a related development, Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the INEC, was declared wanted by the anti-graft agency in connection with a N23.29billion poll bribery scandal. According to a source in the EFCC, the comission has been on his trail in the last two weeks but he has managed to evade arrest.

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