Tuesday 5 January 2016

$2.1bn Arms Deal: "Implicated military officers to face EFCC" - Defence Headquarters

Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has made it clear that any military officer found culpable in the ongoing investigation into the misappropriation of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase must face the interrogation and prosecution anti-graft agencies, especially the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, stated this in response to recent revelations that a senior officer and military attaché of the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), and his predecessor, the late General Andrew Azazi, had been implicated in the misappropriation of funds in the Office of the NSA.

It was reported recently that a high-ranking military officer of the rank of colonel, was in charge of the procurement of arms.

The senior army officer has been in EFCC’s custody for over one week, raising questions as to whether the EFCC, which is headed by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), is empowered to detain a serving senior military officer.

However, when contacted, Abubakar said the military would release any officer with questions to answer to face either the Presidential Arms Probe Committee, EFCC, or any other related agencies, if that will assist in the ongoing war against terror.

Though he could not confirm if any officer(s) was arrested, he added that the DHQ would not stand in the way of the law.

He said: “I am not a member of the committee investigating the arms procurement. However, corruption is not a good thing for any country that hopes to develop and carry out fundamental duties of governance. It is a disease that requires the collective effort of good citizens to eradicate.
“The issue of arresting an officer involved, I don't have such information, but I believe anybody, either soldier or civilian, found wanting can be invited by the committee because this is a national revival for the betterment of our nation.
“More so, no body is above the law. The military like any segment of the society operates within the law. So whoever acts outside the law must be held accountable to move our country forward.”
His remarks came on the heels of revelations that the EFCC had written to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, to release some senior serving military officers linked to the arms deal for interrogation.

Credit: ThisDay

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