EFCC Traces N35 Billion Slush Fund To Chief Of Staff To GEJ,...

EFCC Traces N35 Billion Slush Fund To Chief Of Staff To GEJ, Mike Oghiadome

By Wires Editor | The Trent on February 3, 2020
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EFCC Ibrahim Magu, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,

Mike Oghiadome, a former chief of staff to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, stands the risk of forfeiting two mansions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, after N35 billion arms slush cash was traced to a member of his family.

The mansions are located on Udo Udoma Street, in the posh Asokoro District of Abuja.

The legal unit of the EFCC is already processing the forfeiture of the two assets.

The EFCC has quizzed Oshioke, Ogiadhome’s son over alleged involvement in arms deals.

Ogiadhome himself has been invited for questioning but he was yet to honour EFCC’s invitation at press time.

He may be arrested if he fails to show up for questioning.

A ranking member of the House of Representatives who was similarly invited, has been lobbying in the power corridor to prevail on EFCC to drop the summons.

Detectives have also quizzed a defence contractor, Donald Peterson.

Others implicated in the defence contracts are a former permanent secretary, a former governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and two former Service Chiefs.

Investigation by The Nation on Saturday, February 1, 2020, revealed that the EFCC made startling discoveries while probing contracts worth N35 billion for the equipping of the Nigerian contingents on UN peacekeeping missions all over the world.

Findings pointed at  diversion, looting and outright sharing of the cash leaving those on peacekeeping missions without necessary tools and equipment.

Part of the cash was found to have gone into private accounts.

It was gathered that the N35 billion was paid into a bank account with number 0001713716, from where it was depleted.

About 1301 companies including two former Service Chiefs are alleged to have benefited from the scandal.

A document obtained by The Nation said in part: “In 2007, the UN told the Federal Government to equip the Nigerian contingents on peacekeeping missions all over the world. The UN asked the Federal Government to raise the money while it will reimburse later.

“There were three options opened to the Federal Government namely, (a) borrowing from banks (b) use of normal budget and (c ) sourcing funds from the Capital Market.

“The Federal Government chose the Capital Market and directed the Debt Management Office, DMO, to raise the cash.

“In June 2008, DMO raised the N35 billion and transferred it into the account of the Ministry of Defence domiciled in a commercial bank.

“Investigation confirmed that some of the cash were disbursed to different military officers and formations including a former Chief of Army Staff and a former Chief of Naval Staff and a former Permanent Secretary in the State House.

“Contracts were awarded to about 131 companies from the cash.

“Also, about $4,347,529.67  from the votes was allegedly used to establish an embassy in Brazil by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The disbursement of the N35 billion spread from 2008 to 2013 with different purposes being used to divert the money.”

According to the EFCC, the Oghiadomes came into the picture when investigation showed that a contractor, Donald Peterson was allegedly used between 2010 and 2013 to launder some of the cash through award of contracts.

The ex-Chief of Staff was alleged to have wielded political influence to secure juicy contracts for Donald Peterson’s companies including Richfield Technologies Limited and VTB Export/ Import Limited.

Some of the contracts awarded Richfield Technologies Limited were supply of telecommunications equipment( N1,020,000,000); supply of touch recovery vehicles(N80 million); supply of Tevex crane( N269 million); purchase of two trainer simulators (N433 million); supply of 65 units of air conditioners( N349 million); supply of 5 units of fuel trailer(N85 million); aircraft refillers (N320 million) and supply of arms and ammunition(N894 million).

As for the VTB Export/ Import Limited, the contracts secured were supply of arms and ammunition (N778 million) and supply of arms to the Nigeria Police (N500 million).

Detectives allegedly uncovered how Donald Peterson paid part  of the contract sums into companies owned by Oshioke Ogiadhome, who is a son to the former Chief of Staff.

The document said: “Out of  the N1.020 billion telecommunications contract sum Donald Peterson got, he paid over N100 million into the account of West African Business Platform Limited owned by Oshioke Ogiadhome . He also paid another N50 million to West African Business Platform Limited on the instruction of Oshioke’s father.

“Donald Peterson paid for two houses in Asokoro for the former chief of staff, through his son, Oshioke.

“Investigation confirmed that Richfield Technologies Limited paid N320 million to a member of the House of Representatives, Wole Oke for a house in Asokoro District on 2B Udo Udoma Crescent and another on Queen Idia Street. When we profiled the account of Richfield Technologies Limited, there was evidence of the transactions in another bank account. We are working on clues that it was 10% cut.

“The former Chief of Staff’s  son equally secured some contracts for arms and ammunition from the Nigeria Police. The contracts were about nine (9) in number with each close  to N50 million per slot. We are probing him for about N500 million curious contracts.

“Our team has quizzed Oshioke and Donald Peterson. We have also invited the former Chief of Staff but he has refused to honour our invitation. We may have no choice than to execute a warrant of arrest on him.

“We have referred a request for the forfeiture of the two houses to our Legal Unit. This is being processed.

But when Donald Peterson was interrogated, he said he had been a contractor with the Ministry of Defence since 2002 but in the course of looking for more contracts, he met Oshioke Ogiadhome who told him his father was looking for a trusted person for contracts.

“As for the member of the House, he is yet to honour our summons. He is only lobbying people to prevail on EFCC to drop its invitation.”

On the fate of the contracts, the document indicated that “most of them were rejected by the UN. Other nations, like Ghana, got their refunds in full.”

Other observations made about the contracts were:

*Contractors could not deliver within the stipulated time assigned which ranged from three to six months

* Sub-standard materials were used but accepted by the Ministry of Defence

* Some contracts were terminated after full contract sums were paid to the contractors without any refund

It was also learnt that a former Minister of Defence is under investigation by the EFCC for allegedly collecting a kickback of $240,000 cash from a N533 million contract for the supply of arms.

“One of the suspects admitted that the $240,000 was handed over to the ex-minister in a hotel. The kickback was within the same period the transactions for the two houses were done.

“The suspect said the ex-minister got the cash for facilitating the N533 million contract.

“A former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence was equally paid N120 million out of the contract sum of N433 million for three simulators. He later compelled the contractor to part with N50 million and a brand new Honda Accord car for his wife. We have the records.

“Seeing what his boss benefitted, the personal assistant to the Permanent Secretary also demanded and received two vehicles including a Passat and a Jetta.

“There is a case of a former governorship candidate who got N30 million from the contract fees for the award of aircraft refillers when he was a Personal Assistant to another former Minister of Defence.”

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC is going to invite more companies and contractors for interrogation.

“We will ensure that all the diverted funds are refunded to the Federal Government.”

Read more at The Nation

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