• Court rules against Dasuki’s discharge, grants him N250m bail
• Badeh visits anti-graft agency, uncertainty over detention
WIDENING its campaign against corruption, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has started an investigation into the petroleum sector and the role of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke. Also being investigated is former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Besides, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT ) High Court yesterday refused to discharge former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki from the corruption charges brought against him by the EFCC.
In another development, former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Mashal Alex Badeh (rtd) arrived at the EFCC headquarters yesterday morning and according to The Guardian investigations might have been detained overnight.
The Acting chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu who revealed the probe of Allison-Madueke and Okonjo-Iweala spoke at the 2016 budget defence session with the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes yesterday .
He said: “We are investigating the former ministers, Diezani Allison-Madueke and Okonjo-Iweala, as well as the petroleum sector”, in response to a question by one of the committee members.
Earlier, Magu had sought the support of the committee to get a budget of N11.4billion for the EFCC in 2016. Some of the areas where the budget will be needed, according to him, include the completion of the EFCC headquarters complex under construction, training and re-training of staff, recruitment and training of additional 750 staff in 2016, as well as in the area of investigation activities. Earlier, chairman of the House committee, Kayode Oladele had assured EFCC of its support.
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, while ruling on an application filed by Dasuki, praying the court to free him on the grounds that the EFCC was in contempt of the court, disobeying the court order that admitted him to bail, said:”From the evidence and facts placed before the court, Dasuki was on December 29, 2015. released from Kuje Prison after he had met the bail conditions given by the court.”
He held that it was not in dispute that a ‘stranger’ not involved in the existing trial, rearrested Dasuki shortly after his release on bail.
The court therefore, held that: “It would be wrong to hold EFCC responsible for the re-arrest since there was no evidence that the anti-graft agency obstructed the bail conditions of the first defendant.”
Justice Baba-Yusuf further stated that the Department of State Services (DSS) that rearrested Dasuki could not be held in contempt because the bail order did not affect it in the instant case.
He also held that since he did not give an order prohibiting the re-arrest of Dasuki, there was no way the body could be brought to court to face contempt charge.
Justice Hussein said that since the re-arrest was not carried out by the EFCC, he was not inclined to discharge Dasuki from the charges against him on the grounds that EFCC had not committed any contempt as far as the instant case was concerned.
Following protests by Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, SAN, that his client had been held since Dec 29, 2015 by the DSS, without charging him to court, Justice Baba-Yusuf, however, advised that a civil action could be instituted against the DSS for the enforcement of Dasuki’s right to liberty.
Justice Baba-Yusuf had fixed February 8 to rule on whether to discharge Dasuki, of the criminal charges preferred against him by the Federal Government (FG).
The judge on February 4 adjourned till February 8 after counsel to Dasuki, Joseph Daudu, SAN, and counsel to the Federal Government on the matter at the instant case, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had addressed the court on a motion praying for the release of Dasuki.
While Justice Baba-Yusuf did not discharge the former NSA on the application filed by him, praying the court to free him on the grounds that EFCC was in contempt of the court, Dasuki has been granted bail with N250 million with one surety not below the rank of a director in the civil service.The trial has been adjourned till March 23, 2016.
A check at 6:33 p.m. on Monday revealed that Badeh was being grilled and had been in custody for hours, explaining his role in the $2 billion and another N29 billion contract and procurement scam that took place at the Nigeria Air Force and the Nigerian Army between 2014 and 2015.
A presidential order of January 15 had referred Badeh for investigation by the EFCC. He, along with 20 others are meant to answer questions concerning how 10 contracts totaling $930,500,690.00 were awarded, payment of N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts, and procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00.
They are also accused of procuring four used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at $7,180,000.00 funded by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), cannibalism of engines from NAF fleet to justify procurement of jets and excessive pricing of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar at $33million instead of $6million each among other allegations.