EXCLUSIVE: $2 billion arms Deal: Did Bala Lau’s faction of JIBWIS benefited from the largesse? …..Why EFCC failed to prosecute them

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By DESERT HERALD

DESERT HERALD has obtained incontrovertible evidence that the faction of the Jama’atul Izalatul Bidi’a Wa’ikamatus Sunnah, JIBWIS, under Malam Abdullahi Bala Lau and Kabiru Haruna Gombe has indeed benefited from the $2 billion arms money which resulted to the arrest and even incarceration of several others like the former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki rtd. While the effort by the Federal Government to recover the said amount through the EFCC is commendable and has been applauded by many, the clearly obvious selective manner in identifying, arresting and prosecuting all those that were genuinely involved has created serious doubts about the sincerity of the APC government in ensuring that all those that benefited from the $2 billion largesse irrespective of their closeness or otherwise to the government are brought to book.

One clear example about how such cases suffered setback or rather abandonment in the EFCC at a time many others were vigorously pursued and are either being prosecuted or has been prosecuted is the involvement of the JIBWIS faction under Abdullahi Bala Lau in benefiting from the $2 billion which Col. Dasuki reportedly distributed on the instruction of former President Goodluck Jonathan. DESERT HERALD can report that because of the overwhelming evidences the EFCC have against the Bala Lau faction of the JIBWIS, the leadership was severally invited by the EFCC on the matter. During virtually all visits which ended in intense interrogation, Kabiru Gombe was the one that repeatedly visited the Commission on behalf of their JIBWIS and has at least wrote four statements regarding their role from the share of $2 billion. A credible EFCC source who is privy to the investigation, the politics and powerplay that saw the literal discharge of Bala Lau and Kabiru Gombe confided in this reporter that the EFCC indeed has obtained sufficient evidence from its investigation and interrogation of Kabiru Gombe to probe that the JIBWIS under Bala Lau has benefited from the largesse but despite such evidences, refund of the total sum of the N100 million reportedly gave to them (which EFCC has compiled many beneficiaries to pay) and subsequent arraignment was frustrated due to the intervention of several powers at the helm. It was reportedly advanced as reason that since EFCC did not arrest or arraign beneficiaries on the part of CAN and other christian leaders, it will be embarrassing to effect any arrest on the other side thus making the beneficiaries of the money many are being prosecuted for having a field day, evading justice.

A renowned JIBWIS scholar under Bala Lau faction from Argungu in Kebbi State also confided in DESERT HERALD that they had serious crisis with Bala Lau and Kabiru Gombe when the EFCC first brought up the matter. The scholar revealed that all other top members of the JIBWIS are not even aware that money was given until when they were invited at the pick of the crisis by Bala Lau to discuss the way out. It was then they discovered that only Bala Lau and Kabiru Gombe benefited from the money. He told DESERT HERALD that himself, Malam Habibu Yahaya Kaura and some few others had to leave the meeting in protest. He said he is also surprised to learned much later that the duo are out of the EFCC trouble and that from the information available to him no refund was made. He lambasted the EFCC for selecting who and who to prosecute amongst those that got a share from the money.

The anonymous scholar also told this paper that in view of the evidences of gratification Bala Lau and Gombe collected from the Goodluck Jonathan administration they have no option than to campaign and support the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari otherwise there will be likelihood of opening up their case file. He also challenge the EFCC to publicly disclosed why they interrogated Kabiru Gombe several times and to make public the result of their investigation.

The $2 billion arms deal is an arms procurement deal in Nigeria that resulted in the embezzlement of $2 billion through the office of the National Security Adviser. The illegal deal was revealed following an interim report of the presidential investigations committee on arms procurement under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The committee report showed an extra-budgetary spending to the tune of N643.8 billion and an additional spending of about $2.2 billion in the foreign currency component under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Preliminary investigation suggested that about $2 billion may have been disbursed for the procurement of arms to fight against Islamic insurgency in Nigeria. The investigative report indicated that a total sum of $2.2 billion was inexplicably disbursed into the office of the National Security Adviser in procurement of arms to fight against insurgency, but was not spent for that purpose. Several reports suggested that part of the disbursed fund was diverted for the sponsoring of the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan, the former President of Nigeria.

Investigations on this illegal deal led to the arrest of Shaibu Salisu, a former Director of Finance in the office of the National Security Adviser. He was arrested by the Department of State Security Services and following interrogations he claimed to have acted on Colonel Dasuki’s order. Colonel Dasuki was arrested on 1 December 2015 by the Department of State Security Services and transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further interrogation. In a written statement, he mentioned several notable Nigerians who were involved in the arms procurement deal. Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the chair emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, was mentioned in connection with the deal alongside Attahiru Bafarawa, the former Governor of Sokoto State, and Bashir Yuguda, the former Minister of State for Finance. Dasuki had also reportedly mentioned some religious amongst whom are leaders of the JIBWIS faction as beneficiaries.

The arms procurement investigative committee was inaugurated on 31 August 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the procurement of ammunition to fight against insurgency during the administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The interim report of the committee revealed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions. The report revealed an extra-budgetary spending to the tune of N643.8 billion and inexplicable spending of about $2.2 billion in the foreign currency component under the Goodluck Jonathan administration. This amount excluded grants received by the state governments and funds received by the Directorate of State Services and the Nigerian Police Force. The committee analyzed how funds were transferred to the office of the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Armed Forces in local and foreign currencies. The committee observed that about $2.2 billion was disbursed for the procurement of ammunition to tackle insurgency but regretted that despite this enormous financial transactions, little or nothing was spent for the procurement of the arms for which the fund was disbursed.[9] The committee discovered that out of the 513 contracts awarded at $8,356,525,184.32, ₦2,189,265,724,404.55 and £54,000.00, about 53 were failed contracts amounting to about $2,378,939,066.27 and ₦13,729,342,329.87 respectively.[10] The committee also noted that the amount of foreign currencies spent on failed contracts was more than twice the $1 billion loan approved by the National Assembly for borrowing from the World bank to fight insurgency.[11] The investigative committee also discovered a total transfer of ₦3.850 billion to a single company by Colonel Dansuki, the former National Security Adviser. These transactions were made with neither agreements nor fulfilment of tax obligations to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Further investigation by the committee provided evidence that phantom and fictitious contracts to the tune of ₦2,219,188,609.50, $1,671,742,613.58 and £9,905,477.00 was awarded between March 2012 and March 2015 by Colonel Dasuki. In addition, the funds disbursed for the purchase of 12 helicopters, 4 Alpha Jets, bombs and other ammunition were not utilized for those purposes. The committee also noted that Dansuki directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to transfer a total sum of $132,050,486.97 dollars and £9,905,473.5 to the accounts of the Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, the UK, and the US with no documentation.

Subsequent to this investigative committee’s interim report, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the arrest of Colonel Dasuki on alleged siphoning of billions of dollars allocated for the procurement of arms. He also ordered the arrest of all those indicted.

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