Arms deals: Fresh controversy over $1b loan approved for Jonathan

0
  • Ex-president returns home, loyalists regroup to defend tenure
  • Dasuki writes EFCC, asks for more timeMore questions may be awaiting  former President Goodluck Jonathan on arms deals during his tenure after his weekend denial in Washington DC that he never incurred a bill of  $2 billion on arms procurement.This includes the whereabouts of the over $1billion loan approved for him by the 7th National Assembly for arms purchase to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.It was unclear last night whether the loan was accessed by the administration before the expiration of its tenure on May 29.

    His loyalists claimed yesterday that the money was not made available before he left office.

    There were suggestions that the Special Investigative Panel on arms procurement may be asked to establish the truth about the loan.

    More military officers, ex-ministers and arms contractors may be invited for clarifications, it was gathered.

    Jonathan returned to Abuja from the USA on Friday with his ex-members said to be regrouping to defend arms deals during his presidency and other allegations against the administration.

    Jonathan had on July 16, 2014, written to the 7th National Assembly for the approval of a $1 billion loan for the fight against Boko Haram.

    The ex- President said he needed the cash to upgrade military equipment and for training as well as logistics for the Armed Forces.

    Jonathan made the request in a letter entitled: “Tackling ongoing security challenges: The need for urgent action.”

    On September 25, 2014, the Senate approved the loan following the submission of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Finance and that of Local and Foreign Debt by the Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

    A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “In spite of the submission of Interim Report, the ongoing probe of the arms deal is continuing. One of the areas being looked into is what became of the $1billion loan approved for Jonathan by the 7th Senate.

    “Actually, the loan was approved going by the records made available to the probe panel. So, if the panel is talking of $2billion, it must have been based on records in its care.

    “This development may lead to the invitation of some ex-ministers to clarify the status of the loan and whether or not it was diverted to other use.”

    But a former Minister said: “Initially, the vote was about $900m but the leadership of the 7th Senate advised the Executive to ask for $1billion to accommodate unexpected financial challenges in fighting Boko Haram.

    Trade Club

    “The Ministry of Finance ought to write letters to those advancing the loan and those companies supplying the arms on how the government will remit the funds.

    “We however did not get the $1billion loan because the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, did not sign necessary papers as a result of the inability of her office to receive the required votes and proceedings from the National Assembly.”

    Ex-President Jonathan returned to Abuja on Friday with his erstwhile cabinet members regrouping on how to defend their tenure.

    A highly-placed source said: “We have resolved to respond to any issue raised by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on facts and figures.

    “Ex-President Jonathan has started it in the US, we will no longer keep quiet because the stigmatization is increasingly becoming unbearable.

    “We will not confront Buhari government but we will be replying on points of records.”

    Embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, was said to have written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for more time to appear for grilling over the arms deals.

    The letter was submitted to EFCC on Friday by Dasuki’s counsel.

    A source in EFCC said: “We have received Dasuki’s letter, we will get back to him accordingly.

    “If after Monday, he continues to evade appearance before this commission, we will have no choice than to obtain a warrant of arrest from a court to pick him.

    “We have tried our best to be civil and handle the case in line with international best practices.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.