*Army says 6 serving generals, one retired general,one Lt.Col also to be quizzed by EFCC
The on going probe into arms purchase continues today as the Nigerian Army said it has handed over six serving Generals and one retired General to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for investigation.
In a statement, Colonel Sani Usman Acting director, Army Public Relations, listed the officers sent to anti graft agency for investigation. Among them are three serving Major Generals, and one retired, three Brigadier Generals, four Colonels and one Lieutenant Colonel.
Colonel Usman did not mention in the statement, the names of officers involved. But it was learnt that one of those involved is Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, the Aide-de-Camp to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
It was learnt that Ojogbane was reportedly arrested at the Airport on his way out of the country on Wednesday.
Ojogbane was reportedly grilled by operatives of EFCC on Thursday. He had earlier been grilled by a military panel over his involvement in the arms purchase scandal.
Colonel Usman said in the statement issued late Thursday that investigation being carried out by EFCC will not deter the military from carrying out its own probe of officers.
According to him, even at if the end of the EFCC investigations, the officers found culpable will still be tried by a military Court Martial.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had last year set up a panel to investigate utilisation of funds budgeted for purchase of arms from 2007 till date.
The Panel was set up in reactions to allegations and complaints that insufficient as well as poor quality of weapons contributed to poor performance of Nigerian troops in the battle against insurgent group Boko Haram which has dragged on for over six years in North East Nigeria.
The Panel had in the second part of its report indicted many serving and retired Generals for misuse of funds budgeted for procurement of arms, an action which it noted resulted in fatal consequences for some officers involved in the war against terror in North east Nigeria.
In a statement on the second report of the Panel, Shehu Garba, senior special assistant to President Buhari noted that: “A main purchase activity undertaken by Dasuki’s office for NAF was that concerning the contracts awarded to Societe D’ Equipment Internationaux (SEI) Nig Ltd.
“The SEI contracts included procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at the cost of one hundred and thirty six million, nine hundred and forty four thousand US dollars ($136,944,000.00).
“The committee established that ONSA also funded the procurement of 4 used Alpha jets for the NAF at the cost of seven million, one hundred and eighty thousand US dollars ($7,180,000.00).
“However, it was confirmed that only 2 of the Alpha jet aircraft were ferried to Nigeria after cannibalization of engines from NAF fleet.
“It was further observed that the sum of three million, three hundred thousand US dollars ($3.3m) was fraudulently included in the contract agreement as VAT and with holding tax and subsequently paid into the bank accounts of Spacewebs Interservices Ltd and Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd.
“The committee further established that two million US dollars ($2m) from the proceeds was transferred to Mono Marine Corporation Nig Ltd, which is jointly owned by principal characters in this deal. The Committee opined that the infractions of extant regulations by these companies were clearly intended to defraud.
“The committee uncovered insider dealings by military officers in procurement activities undertaken by ONSA and the NAF. The officers were found to have misused or abused their offices for personal gains by influencing award of contracts to private companies in which they have substantial interests.”
President Buhari had based on the report ordered the EFCC to investigate 17 serving and retired military officers, including the past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.); a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Dikko Umar (retd.) (2010 -2012) and the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.)
Also indicted in the report and ordered to be investigated by the EFCC include Air Marshal A.M. Mamu (Chief of Administration, Nigeria Air Force); AVM Oguntoyinbo (former Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); AVM T. Omenyi (Managing Director, NAF Holdings); and AVM J.B. Adigun (former Chief of Accounts and Budget). Others are AVM R. A. Ojuawo (Air Force Tactical Air Command, Markudi); AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley (Director, Armament Research in Air Force Research and Development Centre); Air Cdre. A.O. Ogunjobi; Air Cdre G.M.D. Gwani; Air Cdre A.Y. Lassa; Col. N. Ashinze (Special Assistant to the former NSA, Dasuki;) and Air Cdr. S.O.Makinde.
Already, EFCC has begun the investigation of former Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh, ex-Chief Of Air Staff A.N Amosu and other former military leaders.
Many palatial mansions belonging to the two military officers have been seized in Lagos and Abuja.
EFCC is already trying Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser in various courts over diversion of $2.1 billion budgeted for purchase of arms to fund activities of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.