There is unease in the camp of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan following fears of more arrests of suspects over the $2.1billion phoney arms deals.
There were indications last night that more former Ministers in Jonathan’s cabinet and some former public officers might be picked up by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC has also traced more than N8billion curious withdrawals from the Central Bank of Nigeria to Villa Coded account tagged Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Research Library.
About N3.425billion of the N8billion was withdrawn for “special purposes” after the 2015 presidential election.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that the anti-graft agency might arrest more suspects over the mismanagement of arms funds because of fresh clues.
It was learnt that some of the suspects, who have “sneaked out” of the country, might be declared wanted.
One of the affected ex-public officers is alleged to have used the arms cash to rent an apartment in posh Asokoro District in Abuja for his girlfriend at N26million per year.
The said officer was alleged to have paid N78million for three years, besides the agency fee.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ongoing investigation has led to the uncovering of looting of funds meant for arms procurement.
“Some ex-ministers in ex-President Jonathan’s cabinet and a few public officers will certainly be arrested to explain their roles in the alleged diversion of the funds.
“Both the Presidential Committee on Procurement in the Armed Forces and the EFCC are collaborating on these latest cases.
“One of the former office holders under probe allegedly blew N78million to rent an apartment in Asokoro District for his girlfriend/ mistress at N26million per annum. We have located the house; we will soon interact with the landlord.”
It was also gathered that one of the breakthroughs of the EFCC is how over N8billion was withdrawn from the CBN through Villa Coded Account for political patronage under “special purposes”.
About N3.425billion of the N8billion was blown on suspicious purposes after the 2015 presidential election.
The breakdown of withdrawals is as follows:
- N2,683, 620, 263.00 released on March 30, 2015 to MEA Research Library
- From ONSA Account Number 1014199287, about N350million was remitted to African Cable Television Limited on April 17, 2015;
- N392, 428, 880 debited Account number 0142861012 for transfer to MEA Research Library on May 6, 2015
- N5,554, 332, 420.04 withdrawn from CBN on February 3, 2014 through account 0142861012 for MEA Research Library
- N18.066million transferred to MEA Research Library Account 0020142861012 on July 21, 2014 for security operation for Osun election
Another source said: “Even from the outset, the payment schedule was strange. The nation has only Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was last used by the Federal Government during the military era, which ended on May 29, 1999.
“So, we will unmask those behind the operation of the Presidential Villa Coded Account and the beneficiaries of these funds.”
There was however unease in Jonathan’s camp following the decision of most of the suspects to hide under the guise of acting on the “instructions of the ex-President”.
A source in Jonathan’s camp said: “Some loyalists of Jonathan are of the opinion that all those invited by the EFCC should go and account for their activities in office.
“The suspects said they either acted on Jonathan’s instructions or ran errands for him. They said they cannot be held accountable for the directives of the Commander-In-Chief.
“But Jonathan has maintained silence and I think he is waiting for the right time to talk after the Presidential Committee and EFCC might have completed their investigations.
”As a matter of fact, one of the ex-ministers implicated in the arms deals in ONSA has been advised by the ex-President to return to respond to enquiries from the EFCC.”