As the Presidential Investigative Committee on Procurement of Military Hardware and Munitions for the Armed Forces continues to dig up alleged cases of multi-billion Naira fraud in several arms deals, indications emerged last night that some of those under probe may have offered to refund some of their loot.
These include former military chiefs and military officers, who have been under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Although the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.) has vehemently denied complicity in the allegation that he misappropriated N644 billion and $2.2 billion in shady arms deals, the former military chiefs may have decided to play ball now to put them in consideration for a soft landing considering the incalculable damage a potentially messy corruption trial may do to their “unblemished” service records.
“About four of such former officers have offered to make refunds. I think Dasuki does not know the extent to which the panel had gone in probing the arms deals”, a source privy to the activities of the Special Investigative Committee disclosed.
“When the case gets to court, Nigerians will appreciate the depth of the investigation by the panel”, the source added.
In line with the laws establishing it, the EFCC may seize the assets of the ex-NSA and some ex-military chiefs allegedly involved in the N644 billion arms deals.
The anti-graft agency may also invoke temporary assets forfeiture clause as part of the ongoing probe of the arms deals.
A reliable source said: “The EFCC may invoke Assets Forfeiture clause to seize the properties of Dasuki and other Service Chiefs who allegedly diverted or misappropriated funds meant for arms procurement in line with sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.
“Section 28 reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court’.
“We have appreciable list of assets in Abuja, Kaduna, Lagos and Port Harcourt to be attached. One of the affected officers built two mansions in Kaduna and Abuja under six months.
“A Service Chief is also being investigated for allegedly acquiring a property of the late first Civilian Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha”.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that three suspects, including a top Nigerian and two Israelis, have fled the country evade arrest.
The trio were considered key suspects in the arms deals’ scandal.
It was learnt that the FG’s seeming refusal to allow the ex-NSA travel abroad for medical treatment may have been informed by fears that he may also flee.
Another source said: “The government may appear to have been hard on Dasuki because three suspects implicated in the arms deal have sneaked out of the country. The suspects, including a top Nigerian and two Israelis, were rated as closer to Dasuki.
“Wherever they are, we will repatriate them accordingly. With the cooperation of some countries, there is no hiding place for any suspect.
“This is one of the reasons why the Federal Government does not want Dasuki to travel out for medical treatment”.