Arms contract scandal: Politicians’ new albatross

Share it:

By Iheanacho Nwosu

Some political leaders in the country are on the  edge of a cliff. The ongoing investigation of a $2.2 bn Weapons contract scandal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is causing huge scare in the camps of key politicians .
Suddenly politicians and some notable leaders especially those close to former President Goodluck Jonathan and embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rted) have turned prayer warriors . They want God to keep their names away from the list  containing alleged beneficiaries of the slush money. Now, both in hush tone and in the open the discussion  among politicians and well heeled Nigerians centre on who has been arrested by the EFCC and who may be invited by the commission on account of the scandal.
The arrest of Chairman of Daar Communication, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi  by EFCC and the fingering of former governor of Rivers state, Dr Peter Odili, chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Olabode George, former governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa   in the deal sparked off  widespread apprehension in the camps of those who played key roles in the last general election. Dokpesi is alleged to have collected over N2bn from the former NSA office.
Before moving against the Daar Communication chairman , EFCC had arrested Dasuki and hordes of his key staff.  Some reports claim that the  embattled former NSA, has been under intense pressure from law enforcement authorities over his alleged role in orchestrating the stealing of the huge sums of money meant for a massive arms contract. The allegedly stolen funds were intended to purchase weapons to fight Islamist terror group, Boko Haram.
The speculation at the moment is that Dasuki and his men in the EFCC net are  the ones divulging those who benefitted from the controversial arms contract money.
Dasuki has been fighting a battle of his life since the commencement of the incumbent administration. it has been from one problem to another. But all the allegations have revolved around the arms deal. The ruling by the court that he should be allowed to travel abroad recently brought a relief to him. However, the respite was to last for few hours as operatives of the Department of State Services which had laid siege at his home  swooped on him in a more ferocious manner. They hung on his neck  a more damming allegation. And that is the sharing of over $2bn money penciled for procurement of arms for the ongoing war on insurgents.
Expectedly,Dasuki and all the people fingered in the scandal are not keeping sealed lips. They are shrugging off the allegation, accusing the Muhammadu Buhari administration of merely engaging in political vendetta. Soon after his arrest and interrogation  by the EFCC, Dasuki debunked siphoning or supervising a sharing bazaar of any money. He insisted that his office spent the fund  approved by   former president Goodluck Jonathan as regards  arms deals.
Dasuki, according to reports didn’t sustain his denial or line of argument. His tune changed after  he was shown the statement written by his former director of finance, Shuaibu Salisu, in which all those involved in the scam were named.
Outside him, 21  people  arrested by DSS and EFCC in relation to the arms purchase scandal made startling revelations .
Such revelations have not, however, stopped the barrage of denials that are streaming from the table of those accused of participating in the alleged sleaze. Former President Goodluck Jonathan who is at the centre of the whole thing washed his hands off it. At a forum in U.S he denied knowledge of the money in question, stressing that he never authorised the sharing of any money for the purpose of his campaign.
Former governor of Sokoto state , Bafarawa equally put up a spirited defence of himself claiming that he knew nothing about the fund. For Dokpesi, the allegation is not only strange but totally in bad taste. His family also stepped him to absolve  him  of the allegation.
In a 10-point-statement released and signed by Raymond Dokpesi Jnr, the family described the allegation as falsehood. It  explained  that Dr. Dokpesi’s DAAR INVESTMENT & HOLDINGS COMPANY LTD,  initiated  a proposal  to  the  Presidency  of  Former  President  Goodluck Jonathan  proposing  a  Multi  Media  Strategic  Development  Support Project  to  promote  and  project  the  achievements  and  highlight the  challenges  of  his  government.
The statement titled ‘THE CONTINUED DETENTION OF HIGH CHIEF RAYMOND DOKPESI BY THE EFCC ON ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING’  read in part : “It has become very imperative that following an article published in the Nation Newspaper and reprinted in other  online and social media, that we provide more clarification on the current detention without trial of Dr. Raymond Dokpesi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja over allegations of Criminal Conspiracy  and Money Laundering.
“ In the first place there is no iota of truth whatsoever that Dr. Dokpesi had a hand in any transaction with the former National Security Adviser regarding the purchase of arms, locally or internationally. This falsehood has become commonplace as his detention is constantly being associated with what has generally become known by the media as  the $2.1 Billion US Dollars Arms Deal Scandal.
“We will like to make it abundantly clear that Dr. Dokpesi’s DAAR INVESTMENT & HOLDINGS COMPANY LTD, initiated a proposal to the Presidency of Former President Goodluck Jonathan proposing a Multi Media Strategic Development Support Project to promote and project the achievements and highlight the challenges of his government whilst demystifying false information gleefully circulated by the propaganda machinery of the then opposition party.
“Former vice president and the former National Security Adviser at the pPresidential Villa, Abuja. We must further emphasize that the proposal had absolutely nothing to do with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), nor the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).”
The family further stated “We understand that this proposal was thoroughly studied, approved and paid for by the Presidency through the office of the National Security Adviser which to the best of our knowledge has multiple budgetary sub-heads including for the promotion and propagation of information to sustain and stabilize the government and its administration.
“We are still at a loss as to why a federal government that claims to have been popularly elected only about six months ago, will embark on a wide scale propaganda, misinformation and brazen falsehood just to achieve its objective of decimating its perceived political opponents and supporters of the previous government’s administration.
“High Chief Raymond Dokpesi remains a law abiding and consummate patriot who has served his fatherland to the best of his ability with zeal, zest and oftentimes a very infectious sense of patriotism.
“ For the avoidance of doubt, Dr Dokpesi has never applied nor bidded for a contract for the purchase of arms. Nor has he ever been registered with the Ministry of Defence for the similar objective of engaging in the supply of Arms for the government. Unfolding events will soon prove irrefutably and unlike what fictious stories are being fed to the media as published by The Nation Newspaper on Friday 4th December 2015.
“ We urge the Buhari-led APC government to rigorously investigate all political and economic crimes thoroughly before embarking on a media trial and sentencing even before the law courts of Nigeria have an opportunity to adjudicate.
“ Our democracy must grow on all fronts but more so under the rule of law which remains the bedrock of any democratic system. “
The APC led government is yet to respond to the issues raised by Dokpesi family , so also are the EFCC and DSS. Whether the silence is a dismissal of the claims raised in the statement or is for other reasons is not known.
However, PDP leadership, as would be expected is not keeping quiet on the new development. Shortly after Dokpesi was arrested by the anti-graft body, the party went to the rooftop to flay the move.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metu  said in a statement in Abuja that it was government’s plan tailored to decimate the opposition and cow the media in Nigeria.
The terse statement read “While the PDP is not against the war against corruption, we insist that the crusade must be carried out within the limits of the law and not as a guise to persecute and torture opposition elements.
The party demanded an open and public trial of all those arrested so that all issues and charges against them as well as their defence therein would also be in the public domain.Read full story here:
Although Metu didn’t say it in his statement , some PDP chieftains have voiced their fears over a possible clampdown in days to come by security authorities on account of the scandal
A senior stalwart  of the PDP who does not want his name mentioned  predicted  that a good number of PDP leaders are going to be affected by the arms procurement scandal. “My brother, the situation is messy. A lot of our members benefitted in one way or the other from the fund meant for arms procurement. I’m afraid that the days ahead will be tough for some senior members of the PDP,” he told a newspaper last week .
To a large extent many people including dispassionate PDP members do not see any thing wrong in the ongoing investigation of arms contract scandal.In fact they encourage the government to unearth every detail of the sleaze and nab everybody linked to it. However, tongues would continue to wag if the administration does not expand its current Augean stable cleansing project to include everybody that is suspected to have soiled his or her hand in any area. Right now, the argument in several quarters is that the government is focusing on opposition elements.
Sure, such argument would cease if the government goes beyond the arms deal and lift the lid on how all the money expended on the last election was sourced and spent .  A Pro-democrcy group, Good Governance Initiative (GGI) in a statement by its Chairman , Dr Ben Ter challenged the presidency and security operatives to tell Nigerians how some governors and individuals  raised the campaign fund for APC, PDP in the 2015 polls.
The group said “Some governors emptied the treasury of their states solely for the purpose of funding campaigns of their parties. PDP and APC governors committed this crime more than  their colleagues in other parties. To avert a recurrence of this in the future, we ask the federal government to bring all the former governors involved in this crude and wicked  act to book.
“We are gratified that those who benefitted from the Weapons contract sum that was diverted by the former NSA are being revealed to Nigerians. Government must recover all the money stollen by those who led us in the past. But, most importantly, the President  must tell us how  his campaign was funded, the source of the money and the identity of the people involved. It will reassure Nigerians that the government means well for everybody”.

Share it:

Latest Stories

Post A Comment:


We’re eager to see your comment. However, Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy and all the links are nofollow. Using keywords in the name field area is forbidden.
Comment Using Either Disqus or Default Comment Mode.