Sunday, 3 April 2016

NEF reveals truth about N2.1 billion arms scandal

There has been a shocking expansion in the controversy over the investigation into the $2.1 billion arms scandal linked to the campaign activities of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general election.

The Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, has released the details of how his group expended the N53m disbursed to it in tranches for the elections. The NEF Chairman confirmed that a former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Tony Anenih, spent his money on the assignment on the instruction of then president Goodluck Jonathan. 

The former presidential adviser added that he was making the details available to the world to correct the information in the public domain stating that the funds made available to his group were part of the $2.1 billion arms money.

Many PDP leaders are questioning the conclusions of the investigation into the activities in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) which claimed that some individuals received funds without contracts, or that contracts were awarded without documentation or that some of the contracts awarded were bogus. 

The names of those who allegedly collected funds from the ONSA have already been published. It is against this backdrop – just as Anenih had made it clear that he was not in a position to ask former president Jonathan where funds for the repayment of campaign costs he had incurred would come from – that Yakassai gave an activity-by-activity breakdown of the expenditure. In fact, the breakdown of the expenditure profile by  the Yakassai group indicated that there is an outstanding balance of N16 million to be claimed.

“Please find below full statement of the expenses incurred during our tour of 17 northern states and the FCT, sponsored by Chief Tony Anenih, on the directive of former President Goodluck Jonathan from January 14 to February 14, 2015,” Yakassai said in a letter. 

“The states visited were Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Katsina, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger, Ilorin, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe.” 

He identified the members of his team as Alhaji Sule Iyaji; Senator Abubakar D. Sodangi; Ambassador M.Z. Anka; Chief John Mankilik; Alhaji Sulaiman Lawal; Dr. Luka Bahago; and Barrister Bitrus Gwadah, with himself as team leader. The elder statesman said the members allowance of N250,000 for eight members for 21 days came to N42,000,000.
Yakassai said Chief Anenih spent the campaign money with order from Jonathan

He disclosed that return tickets for  Abuja-Sokoto, Abuja-Kano, Abuja-Ilorin, Abuja-Yola/Jallingo Abuja-Bauchi/Gombe plane trips cost N50,000 and the total came to N2,250,000. 

Yakassai put hotel accommodation of N30,000 per night for nine persons for five nights. The elder statesman further said payments to personal assistants was N20,000 per person, while the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, delegation from Plateau state, which visited Anenih, got N2,000,000. Yakassai insisted he believed that the expenditure pattern was modest.

However, like the former PDP BoT Chairman said of the outstanding funds yet to be paid to him, the NEF Chairman put the outstanding claims for his assignment at N16,850,000. The breakdown for this, according to Yakassai, is as follows: Car hire for seven persons for 25 days at N50,000 totals N8,750,000, accommodation at other places N6,000,000 and Plateau Special Delegation got N2,100,000. 

He said the idea behind unveiling the details of the expenses of his committee was merely to put them on public record. 

The $2.1 billion arms deal scandal was first revealed in August last year after an investigation revealed that the sum, intended to be spent on weaponry and other equipment, had instead been embezzled through the office of the then national security adviser Sambo Dasuki.

Source- Vanguard

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