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Ex-NAF chief, Amosu, refuses EFCC’s offer to return funds


There were indications on Tuesday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s interrogation of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), had reached a dead end.

It was learnt that the commission had asked Amosu and others, who are still being detained over the $2.1bn arms deal, to refund some money or contract sums traced to them.

Findings showed that the former Chief of Air Staff was being interrogated in connection with 10 contracts awarded by the Nigeria Air Force between 2014 and 2015, totalling $930.5m.

It was gathered that the EFCC’s operatives met a brick wall when the former NAF chief refused to make any commitment to return any money or contract sums, which had been allegedly traced to him.

A source, who confided in one of our correspondents on Tuesday, said as part of moves to recover the funds, the commission was making the signing of an undertaking to refund money as a precondition for granting the suspects administrative bail.

The source, who did not state the amount the former chief of air staff had been asked to pay, said, “As part of efforts to recover funds looted from the NSA office, suspects are being asked to write an undertaking that they will return the money before granting them administrative bail.

“Among others, Amosu is being quizzed over $930m contracts by the Air Force, but the commission had not made the progress it desires because he has not signed any undertaking to return any money. He has not provided the information the commission is looking for.”

It was learnt that most of the questions asked Amosu centred on the procurement of two used Mi-24V Helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at cost of $136.9m.

The helicopters were said to have been excessively priced and not operationally airworthy at the time of delivery.

A brand new unit of such helicopters costs about $30m.

Those who are still being detained by the EFCC include a colonel of the Nigerian Army, who served as the military assistant to a former NSA, the late Gen. Andrew Azazi; former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki(retd.) as well as an Austrian citizen, Mr. Wolfgang Reinl.

An operative of the commission, who confided in one of our correspondents, said both men were detained in connection with some funds deployed in the training of 750 Special Forces in Belarus.

The Special Forces were drawn from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Police to beef up the fighting force against the Boko Haram terror group in the North-East.

It is the belief in the EFCC that the Austrian spent just a fraction of millions of dollars said to have been released for the training of the Special Forces.

It was learnt that the commission was keen on ensuring the retrieval of government funds released for arms procurement, which were allegedly diverted into other uses.

The source added, “The Federal Government is focusing serious attention on retrieving the arms funds from those under probe.

“There are some people who are still in detention of the EFCC because they are not cooperating. Such people have spent weeks there.

“The commission is not just keeping them, the commission is exploring avenues to get some of the funds back. It is not just about prosecution.

“The operatives are also telling the high profile persons to sign an undertaking as a condition for their release. Many of those detained may not have cooperated.”

The PUNCH gathered that the Publisher of ThisDay, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, was not detained for a long time because he agreed, after 24 hours, to sign an undertaking to return the N670m he received from the office of the NSA.

The source explained that the same pattern was applicable in other cases under investigation.

Efforts to get the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, to speak on the latest move of the anti-corruption agency and the alleged refusal of Amosu to sign an undertaking to refund allegedly looted funds were not successful on Tuesday as calls to his mobile did not connect.

Meanwhile, the presidential panel on arms procurement between 2007 and 2014 has forwarded a fresh report to the EFCC, The PUNCH has learnt.

It was reliably gathered on Tuesday that the latest report contained a list of officers of the Nigerian Army who would be investigated by the anti-graft agency over the ongoing arms purchase probe.

The panel had, in November last year, submitted its first report to President Muhammadu Buhari, who on receiving it ordered the arrest of Dasuki.

On January 15, the Presidency said Buhari had received the second interim report and ordered the EFCC to investigate 18 serving and retired military officers, mainly from the Air Force.

It was gathered that top on the list in the latest report, forwarded to the anti-graft commission, were three former service chiefs.

A source in the commission said, “The commission now has the list of those Army officers involved in the arms deals.

“They have not started acting on it because they are still doing the one on the Nigerian Air Force.

“The commission is still treating it as a secret for now. The list is long, we learnt that there are three former service chiefs there but nobody can give you those names there.”

It was learnt that other serving and very senior retired officers of the service were also on the list.

The source said those on the list would be required to make clarifications in some areas involving the procurement of arms under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

EFCC’s operatives were being discreet with the list said to have been received since last weekend.

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was a member of the panel prior to his appointment as the head of the anti-graft agency.

Source: http://www.punchng.com/

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