The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is putting pressure on the State Security Service to hand over former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, to it for interrogation over the ongoing investigation into arms procurement contracts during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Mr. Dasuki was arrested by the SSS on Tuesday after about a month-long siege on his residence in Abuja.
The agency thereafter took him to its headquarters where he has been in detention since then.
On Tuesday, just after the arrest, the senior lawyer heading the former NSA’s legal team, Joseph Daudu, was quoted as saying that he was aware the EFCC applied to Justice Adeniyi Ademola to revoke the bail his court granted Mr. Dasuki.
He also said he was aware the application was pending before the court.
But a source at the EFCC told Premium Times that the anti-graft agency was working hard on getting the DSS to release Mr. Dasuki to it for questioning.
“We are working on that angle, whether he would be handed over today or not is what I cannot say with certainty for now,” the source said.
“He is central to the investigation we are doing, and we really want him here. He has loads of questions to answer.”
Another source at the commission said if the SSS insists on not releasing him, operatives of the EFCC might go to the SSS’ office to interrogate the former NSA.
An associate of Mr. Dasuki however said that the retired colonel is keeping his mouth shut. He is refusing to answer questions put to him by the SSS, insisting he would only speak in the presence of his lawyers or before a court of law.
“They have already indicted him without hearing from him,” said the associate, who asked not to be named for fear he might be victimized by the administration. “So what’s the use asking him questions now?
One of Mr. Dasuki’s lawyers, Ahmed Raji, told the online paper that he was yet to be allowed to see the former NSA.
Mr. Raji however added that he was hopeful of seeing his client yesterday evening. It is not clear if he has been allowed to do so.
The EFCC already has in its custody a media mogul, Raymond Dokpesi; a former governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa; and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda and others.
Raymond Dokpesi, founder of Daar Communication, owners of Ray Power radio network and Africa Independent Television, has said the money he received from the office of the National Security Adviser during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan was payment for media and political campaign for the 2015 general election.
Dokpesi was questioned by the EFCC on Tuesday over the N2.1 billion he allegedly received from the office of the NSA.
Dokpesi’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, had earlier said his client had written to the EFCC informing the anti-graft body he never did business with the NSA’s office.
“What I know is that the EFCC wrote to Daar Holdings asking for a list of directors and whether it has done any business or contract with the office of the NSA in the past and how much was involved,” the lawyer said in a telephone interview.
“We wrote them a reply to say Daar did not do any contract with the office of the NSA and we are ready to give them all the information they need,” he said.
But according to the News magazine, Mr. Dokpesi, in statement released by his company on Wednesday, explained to the EFCC officials that the N2.1 billion that he collected from the former NSA was payment for publicity and media political campaigns during the 2015 General Elections,”
Mr. Dokpesi “made his statement on the various media exposures and campaign transactions which were dutifully carried out based essentially on contractual obligations/relationship”, the statement added.
The statement was however silent on why Mr. Dokpesi received payment for a political media campaign, which ordinarily should have been the prerogative of the Peoples Democratic Party (Mr Jonathan’s party), from the office of the NSA.
So, are they going to let him go?
Mr. Dokpesi’s lawyer revealed that the EFCC had earlier agreed to release the media mogul if certain conditions were met.
He said the agency wanted two sureties who must be directors in the civil service and who must also submit their international passports.
He said Mr. Dokpesi himself was required to submit his passport to the EFCC.
“We were not able to meet the conditions yesterday because it was late. We got the two sureties today and we were ready to meet all the bail conditions before the EFCC told us they were able to get a holding charge warrant from a magistrate.”
The senior advocate of Nigeria said a magistrate judge has no powers to issue a holding charge warrant.
He also said neither Mr. Dokpesi nor himself had been made aware of any charges yet.
“We are yet to know the charges levelled against Chief Dokpesi and he himself has told me that no charges were preferred against him,” he said.
They were all arrested after being indicted by a presidential committee that investigated arms procurement during the last administration.
The committee said about $2.2 billion was diverted to purposes other than arms procurement.
After receiving the interim report of the committee, President Buhari ordered all relevant security agencies to arrest all those indicted by the committee.