- Ex-FCT minister quizzed over alleged contract fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested a former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati. Abati was quizzed by the agency over an alleged N50 million remitted to him by the Office of the then National Security Adviser (ONSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd).
The money was said to be part of the $2.1 billion arms funds. New Telegraph learnt that Abati was invited by the EFCC to explain what the N50 million was meant for “since his office was on monthly imprest.”
A source in the agency said: “We are interrogating Abati over alleged curious payment of N50 million to him by ONSA under Dasuki. The cash was part of the $2.1 billion arms funds. “He is expected to explain why he collected a separate allocation from the ex-NSA when he maintained his office with a monthly imprest.”
Also yesterday, the EFCC quizzed a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed. Highly placed sources, who spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, said Mohammed’s interrogation bordered on allegations of irregular award of contracts during his tenure as FCT Minister as well as abuse of office.
It would be recalled that operatives of the anti-graft agency had, about two months ago, interrogated a director of the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS), Mrs. Jamila Tangaza, over alleged award of questionable contracts. “I can confirm to you that Bala Mohammed, former Minister of the FCT, is with us.
“You know the EFCC has been investigating him over allegations of contract fraud and abuse of office through the allocation of plots of land to persons close to him. “There are, indeed, many petitions pending against the former minister, and the commission’s probe will be thorough. “Operatives are also investigating firms and fronts he allegedly perpetrated the offences through,” the source said. The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, could not be reached for comments.
The arrest of Abati yesterday brought another name in the list of people arrested, quizzed or being investigated by the agency over the arms deal scandal. Currently, the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, is also in detention in connection with the arms fund.
A former Minister of State for Defence under Jonathan, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, is also in detention at the EFCC over an alleged N4.5 billion, which was allegedly used from the funds for the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
Also being prosecuted are service chiefs, former ministers and politicians, who have been accused of taking money from the arms funds.
There is also the investigation of former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, over an alleged involvement to the tune of $15 million, which was found in her account. Apart from Dasuki, other prominent figures arrested in connection with the $2.1 billion arms procurement scandal, include Chief Raymond Dokpesi, ex-minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yugudu; former Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; exminister of Finance, Senator Esther Nenadi Usman; ex-National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, and many others.