As matters stand, embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), is now facing 47-count charges before three different courts and judges in Abuja.
He had previously been docked before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and alleged illegal possession of firearms.
On Monday, the former NSA was arraigned before Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf of the FCT High Court on a fresh 19-count charge. The charge bordered on alleged illegal diversion of about N32billion from accounts the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other banks, while yesterday, he was arraigned before an FCT high court on a new 22-count criminal charge bordering on alleged diversion o
Charged along with Dasuki are former Minister of State, Finance, Bashir Yuguda, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Attahiru and a company the EFCC said was used to divert huge sums of money from the office of the NSA prior to the 2015 general elections- Dahaltu Investment Limited. Also charged are Dasuki’s Finance Director, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu, a former Executive Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa, as well as his companies, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited.
On the heels of this, and wary of the intent by the former NSA to name top Nigerian leaders who benefitted from funds domiciled in his office, the Presidency last night spoke out on what President Muhammadu Buhari got from the previous administration, apparently to set the record straight and clear his name.
Also, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has blamed the uncovered fraud in the arms probe, during the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan, to the failure of National Assembly to carry out its proper oversight functions.
Dasuki’s haul of charges
*$2.1bn arms cash:
Docked before Justice Ademola Adeniyi, Federal High Court in Abuja on a 6-count charge bordering on money laundering, alleged illegal possession of firearms.
*Illegal diversion of N32bn:
Arraigned Monday before Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, FCT High Court on a 19-count charge
*Diversion of N13.6bn:
Arraigned before Justice Peter Affen, FCT High Court on a new 22-count charge
Buhari got 2 SUVs, no cash from Jonathan’s govt — Presidency
Following revelations that Dasuki was set to disclose the names of more beneficiaries of the funds in his office especially former leaders, the Presidency admitted that Buhari got only two Toyota Sports Utility Vehicles and no cash from the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari, who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, made it clear that the gift was humanitarian gesture of President Jonathan following the destruction of his vehicles in an attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Kaduna in February 2014.
According to Adesina, one of the SUVs was armoured while the other was an ordinary one, adding that no cash was given to him, as claimed by some. Adesina said that Buhari received “nothing untoward, illegal or tending to corruption” from Jonathan before or after the attack.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to reports making the rounds, especially on internet-based media, that President Muhammadu Buhari received $300,000.00 and up to five armoured SUVs from the Office of the National Security Adviser in the aftermath of the attack on his convoy in Kaduna last year.
“We unequivocally deny that President Buhari received $300,000.00 or any monetary compensation whatsoever from the Jonathan Presidency or any of its officials, in the aftermath of that attack, or at any other time since then.
“While it is true that one armoured SUV and one untreated SUV were sent to the President in the aftermath of the attack, the vehicles were in keeping with his entitlements as a former Head of State under the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads of State (And other Ancillary Matters) Decree of 1999.
“Section 3, Sub Section 1 of that Decree provides that three vehicles will be provided for former Heads of State and replaced every four years.
“There was therefore nothing untoward, illegal or tending to corruption in former Head of State Buhari and Presidential aspirant, as he then was, receiving vehicles, to which he was statutorily entitled , from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“President Buhari had in keeping with his austere, spartan and frugal disposition shunned most of his entitlements as a former Head of State, but was prevailed upon by his supporters to accept the two vehicles for his personal safety in the aftermath of the dastardly attempt to assassinate him.
“It is preposterous to think that the President will allow his acclaimed reputation of honesty and incorruptibility to be tarnished by accepting a questionable monetary compensation from a discredited regime.”
The donation of the two vehicles is said to have been made before Buhari’s inauguration last May although the attack took place in the first quarter of 2014.
It will be recalled that the embattled former NSA had listed an avalanche of top Nigerian leaders who benefitted from the funds meant for the acquisition of arms for the armed forces to contain the menace of terrorists in the Northeast.
Apart from listing those beneficiaries in his statement of defence before the court, Dasuki threatened to expose more Nigerians in and out of government who got cash and materials from the ONSA. One of his aides told Vanguard on Monday that Dasuki had given out SUVs to former Nigerian heads of state and presidents in the course of his duties, wondering why he should be vilified for carrying out his assigned duties.
The aide mentioned what each of the former presidents and heads of state got from the office of the NSA and said that the revelation would shock Nigerians when released at the appropriate time.
‘Dasuki exploring plea bargain’
Meanwhile, there were indications, yesterday, that the embattled former National Security Adviser may explore the plea bargain option. His lead counsel, Mr. Ahmed Raji, broached the idea while persuading an Abuja High Court sitting in Maitama to release his client on bail pending his trial.
Dasuki who was previously docked before Justice Ademola Adeniyi of the Federal High Court in Abuja on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and his alleged illegal possession of firearms, was on Monday, arraigned before Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf of the FCT High Court on a fresh 19-count charge. The charge bordered on alleged illegal diversion of about N32billion from account the office of the NSA operated with both the Central Bank of Nigeria and other financial institutions.
Equally docked over the alleged fraud was the erstwhile Director of Finance in the Office of the NSA, Mr. Shuaibu Salisu, former Executive Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Commission, NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa, as well as his companies, Acacia Holdings Limited and Reliance Referal Hospital Limited.
The funds were allegedly distributed to delegates to the Presidential Primary Election the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP held in Abuja, a process that saw ex-President Jonathan emerge as sole candidate of the party.
Similarly, the EFCC, yesterday, arraigned the former NSA before Justice Peter Affen of the FCT High Court on a new 22-count criminal charge bordering on alleged diversion of public funds to the tune of about N13. 6billion.
Others that joined the ex-NSA yesterday to plead not guilty to the 22-count charge were the erstwhile Minister of Finance, Bashir Yuguda, former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, his son, Sagir Attahiru and a company the EFCC said was used to divert huge sums of money from the office of the NSA prior to the 2015 general elections- Dahaltu Investment Limited.
Justice Affen, yesterday, deferred hearing on their request applications till today. Shortly after Justice Affen adjourned the case before him, Dasuki was marched into another court presided by trial Justice Yusuf, to adduce reasons why he should be released on bail pending the determination of the case against him.
Moving his bail application yesterday, Dasuki, through his lawyer, Ahmed Raji, SAN, maintained that the crux of charges against him revolves around his alleged complicity in financial crime, an offence he said could be determined through the plea bargain system.
“Even the law recognises the fact that we can do plea bargain”, Raji insisted.
While urging the court to grant his client bail on either self recognition or in the most liberal terms, Raji, SAN, argued that nowhere in the entire charge was it mentioned that the alleged looted funds were specifically earmarked for the purchase of arms for the military.
EFCC opposes bail for Dasuki, others
Meanwhile, EFCC, yesterday, vehemently opposed their bail applications, saying they should be allowed to remain in custody for the sake of the witnesses. EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, urged he court to consider the potency of the proof of evidence before it, gravity of the charge, and the possible punishment the accused persons could incur upon conviction.
Saraki blames arms probe saga on poor oversight
In a related development, Dr Bukola Saraki, has blamed the uncovered fraud in the arms probe, during the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan, to the failure of National Assembly to carry out its proper oversight functions.
Saraki insisted that the legislature, which would have carried out oversight to ensure that the money appropriated for arms purchase was strictly used for the purpose it was meant for,failed in such responsibility.