EFCC arrests Air Force ex-chief Amosu as govt trails Maina


Amosu
Amosu
• Metuh gets bail, case adjourned till Feb 4
• I received N77.5m to promote PDP, says witness
AS the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) intensified its investigation into the alleged corruption in the military, it has arrested former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Adesola Amosu (rtd).
Amosu was arrested on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. and has since been detained by the anti-graft agency.
The former air force chief is one of the 21 former and serving military officers whom President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the EFCC to investigate. Nigeria Air Force personnel being investigated are expected to explain their involvement in a $2 billion and another N29 billion procurement deals that took place between 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, met his bail conditions and was released from EFCC custody late yesterday evening. His Special Adviser, Richard Ihediwa, confirmed to The Guardian around 8:00 p.m. that Metuh had been released and had gone home.
A prosecution witness at Metuh’s trial yesterday testified that he received N77.5 million for publicity for the party.
Testifying before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Mr. Yomi Ogunsanya of CMC Connect, said he received N7.5 million on December 1, 2014 and N70 million on December 15 the same year, respectively to promote the image of PDP in preparation for the 2015 general elections.
A top source at the EFCC who spoke to The Guardian stated that Amosu was being detained to give vital information concerning the deals, especially as regards the contracts awarded, many of which were suspected to have been inflated.
The suspects, including Amosu are to be investigated, and perhaps prosecuted for non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
Certain contracts are specifically to be investigated, especially 10 of which were awarded to SEI Nig. Ltd at the cost of $930 million.
The president recently drew attention to this particular set of contracts in a statement issued through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Part of the statement had read: “Between January 2014 and February 2015, Nigerian Air Force awarded 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690 to SEI Nig Ltd.”
Shehu gave the names of those to be investigated as Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd), Air Marshal M.D. Umar (rtd), Air Marshal A.N. Amosu (rtd), Maj.-Gen. E.R. Chioba (rtd), Air Vice Marshal I. A. Balogun (rtd),  AVM A.G. Tsakr (rtd), AVM A.G. Idowu (rtd), AVM A.M. Mamu,  AVM O.T. Oguntoyinbo,  AVM T. Omenyi, AVM J.B. Adigun, AVM R.A. Ojuawo,  AVM J.A. Kayode-Beckley, Air Cdre S.A. Yushau (rtd),  Air Cdr. A.O. Ogunjobi, Air Cdr. G.M.D. Gwani,  Air Cdr. S.O. Makinde,  Air Cdr. A.Y. Lassa ,  Col. N. Ashinze and  Lt. Col. M.S. Dasuki (rtd). Of the 21 service chiefs, nine are retired.
Other officers and companies such as Messrs. Societe D’ Equipments Internationaux, Himma Aboubakar,  Aeronautical Engineering and Technical Services Limited, Messrs Syrius Technologies, Dr. Theresa A. Ittu, Sky Experts Nig Ltd, Omenyi Ifeanyi Tony,  Huzee Nig. Ltd,  GAT Techno Dynamics Ltd, Gbujie Peter Obie, Onuri Samuel Ugochukwu, Spacewebs Interservices Ltd, Oguntoyinbo Tayo, Oguntoyinbo Funmi, Delfina Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Jacobs Bola,  Mono Marine Corporation Nig. Ltd, Geonel Intergrated Services Ltd, Sachi Felicia, Mudaki Polycarp and Wolfgang Reinl are also ordered to be investigated.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is currently on the trail of the chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, to extradite him from Dubai through Interpol, to answer questions concerning the allegation of N28.8 billion corruption.
But a source informed The Guardian yesterday that Maina believes the government may not succeed because he is a United States citizen and cannot be tried in Nigeria.
“Maina is an American national honoree and one of the U.S. black achievers awardees in 2001. He is in Dubai and believes as a U.S. citizen, he can only be tried in the United States”, he said.
Barely a week ago, strong indications emerged that some of the 18 ex-service chiefs being investigated over the $2.1billion arms procurement deal, may have been placed under house arrest.
The indication came up after President Buhari’s directives to the EFCC to carry out full investigations into the alleged misconduct established against some retired and serving officers of the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Army over the deal that frustrated the war against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
Those affected in the order include embattled former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd); former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd); and two former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshal MD Umar (rtd) and Air Marshal Adesola Amosun (rtd).
After the presidential order, the residence of former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh’s was reportedly cordoned off by men of the Department of State Service (DSS) while a similar attempt was made to quiz Air Marshal MD Umar (rtd), also a former Chief of Air Staff.
Metuh and his company, Detras Investment Limited are standing trial for alleged money laundry, criminal breach of trust and criminal diversion of public funds valued at N400 million.
Going down memory lane, Ogunsanya told the court how he first made contact with the PDP, his subsequent meetings with top party officials including former President Goodluck Jonathan and how he was paid for publicity campaigns that would boost the image of the PDP and the president.
“But we got the first payment from him on December 1, 2014 which was N7.5 million, a cheque he issued in my name and I transferred to the company. This cheque was for Destra Investment. On December 15, 2014, he did a transfer from Destra Investment of N70 million to our CMC Connect.
“By December 13, we had started the work. Our first set of work was to get Nigerians to appreciate the role of the military in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency. This was leading to the Armed Forces Remembrance Day and we had insertions in newspapers: ThisDay, The Guardian, The Punch, Vanguard, Daily Trust, Leadership and The Sun”. Ogunsanya said they also engaged the electronic media in seasonal greetings to Nigerians.
“Thereafter, this was leading to the festive season, so, we had the campaign on TV stations, wishing Nigerians a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on Channels, AIT, Silverbird and NTA. We had placements on those stations. We did some directly and some, we engaged the services a media supermart. The reason for this was that at that time, there was a lot of demand for air time by various political parties. So, to get the prime time, we needed to go through people who were media muscles to secure the spots we wanted.”
The witness said the essence of the campaign was to draw attention to some of the achievements of PDP as a party. “When we started, the former president had just been confirmed as the candidate through the party convention.
“So, we did double spread in three newspapers, thanking Nigerians and promising that he would not fail them. We also did a series of other materials which ran into January 2015”.
Although the judge was getting weary of the long story as he questioned the rationale for the detail, he allowed Ogunsanya to complete it.
According to Ogunsanya, evidence of payments was with him and these, he tendered before the court as exhibits E1, E2, E3 and E4.
The defence counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), in his cross-examination, asked the witness if he actually went with Metuh to meet President Jonathan in the Villa and if he confirmed that the job for which he was paid was for PDP and not Metuh personally. This, he answered in affirmative.
The counsel also put to him that since he did not receive further payment from former President Jonathan for the publicity, the money received from Metuh was therefore, legitimate settlement for the work done for the party. Ogunsanya’s answer was also ‘yes’.
The second witness, Ibrahim Kabiru, a bureau de change operator, also brought by the prosecution counsel, Sylvanus Tahir equally testified to have received $1 million from Mrs. Ararume for conversion into naira.
According to him, the naira equivalent of the $1 million changed at N183 per dollar was transferred to Destra Investment Limited through his Diamond Bank account.
He, however, agreed that in the course of the transaction, Metuh was not in the picture as he dealt directly with one Mrs. Ararume in December 2014.
“I transferred the money from my Diamond Bank account to that account – Destra Investment Limited”, Kabiru stated.
Kabiru, however, claimed ignorant of rules restricting him from going beyond a certain amount of transactions daily.
In the absence of the third prosecution witness, Justice Abang adjourned the case till February 4. Both the counsel to the EFCC and that of Metuh, however, accepted the new date. He said that the court proceedings had been fair and they were satisfied with the process.
Metuh was earlier on January 19, granted bail but had remained in prison custody due to his inability to fulfill the bail terms, which include the payment of N400 million as well as presentation of two sureties, who the court insisted, must be resident in Abuja and also possess landed property in the Maitama District of the Federal Capital Territory with statutory registration of occupancy.
The bail terms were, however, reduced on Wednesday when Justice Okon Abang, granted in part, Metuh’s application for variation of the bail conditions.
The new conditions stated that the two sureties could be owners of property with valid title documents in any district of the Federal Capital Territory and must not necessarily be in Maitama as earlier stipulated.

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