The development has brought the alleged arms funds diversion to $15billion, up from the initial estimate of $2.1billion.
The EFCC has been investigating allegations of diverted funds allocated by the administration of the last president, Goodluck Jonathan, towards the purchase of arms. This was part of a campaign by the military to combat the growing threat of terrorism by Boko Haram in the country.
The initial investigation focused on the arms deals by the Office of the National Security Adviser under the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki. However, indications are more military officers may be affected by the investigations.
Sources speaking on the condition of annonymity hinted that the initial sum of $2.1billion uncovered by the investigation may only represent one set of transactions into an account in the First Bank of Nigeria, New York.
“They moved the money into the First Bank account before re-routing the cash.
The Agency hinted that for now, the priority is the recovery of the funds, with the prosecution of indicted individuals and corporations to follow. The agency also deplored the attittude of some of the people under investigation. In just one instance yesterday, the EFCC yesterday intercepted about $500million in an account and blocked it, while trying to establish the owners of the account
“Most of these companies were incorporated by serving military officers and these officers were the sole signatories into the accounts of these companies.
“All these suspects are not showing remorse, they think that they can go away with the fraud but we won’t allow them.
“Yet when we interrogate them, you see them wearing pampers and cannot stand or walk in public for a long time. Then, you are tempted to ask why they have to steal all these funds meant for public projects.In another related development, EFCC seized a $13million (N2.6billion) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine from th Diagnostic Centre owned by a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu.
The antigraft agency discovered that the MRI machine was bought with some of the funds meant for arms purchase. The investigators claimed that while Amosu’s Diagnostic Centre has MRI equipment, none of the Air Force clinics nationwide could boast of such a state-of-the-art equipment. Also hinting that another former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh may automatically forfeit $1million(N318m) found in his house to the Federal Government.
Air Marshal Amosu. Wife was detained and quizzed by EFCC over property held in trust for husband and having money traceable to the $2.1BN ‘Armsgate’ in her account
According to EFCC investigators, some of the arms funds allegedly diverted by Amosu, were used to buy the MRI machine for the Diagnostic Centre. There are even suggestions that the centre might be confiscated by the Nigerian government.
A top source in the EFCC source was quoted as saying: “After thorough investigations, we have seized a MRI equipment of about N2.6billion from Amosu’s Diagnostic Centre. We were able to trace the purchase of the machine to some of the diverted funds meant for procurement of arms.
“We may also place the centre under temporary asset forfeiture pending the conclusion of the trial of the suspect.
“All these assets are apart from the $11.5million (N2.3billion), houses, $140,000 and N381m recovered from Amosu’s wife.”
However, Air Chief Marshal Badeh, through his lawyer, Samuel O. Zibri (SAN) has disowned ownership of the money.
“Our attention has been drawn to a publication of March 7th 2016 to the effect that the sum of $1,000,000(One Million US Dollars) cash was recovered in the house of Air Chief Marshal A.S Badeh (Rtd). The said publication is not only malicious but wicked.
“It is totally false and smacks of media campaign of calumny against the person of Air Marshal Alex. Badeh (Rtd) The ten (10) count charge against our client along with the proof of evidence in the Federal High Court are public documents and can be accessed by the general public.
“There is no such allegation and we challenge the faceless EFCC official to substantiate his claim. The Trial has commenced and as a law abiding citizen our client will defend himself in accordance with the law.”
The EFCC responding to the question added: “The ex-Chief of Air Staff is still under investigation along with some military officers. We have not cleared him.”
“We retrieved the cash from Badeh’s residence in Maitama District of Abuja and the operation was witnessed by his neighbours.
“Now that he has denied having such, the cash will be automatically forfeited to the Federal Government.”