The special team raised by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the disbursement of $2.2 billion arms contract deal in the office of the former National Security Adviser, yesterday, confronted the major suspects with evidence of their illicit transactions.
The 27-member task force, which has Ibrahim Magu as a member, spent most part of the day to grill the suspects and asked them to speak up on any aspect of the transactions where their names or those who allegedly fronted for them, appeared.
According to the Vanguard, they will probably be arraigned this week.
It was gathered that the commission had outsmarted the key suspects by first securing a court order to detain them beyond the stipulated 48-hour threshold, thereby making it more difficult for their lawyers to secure their early release.
A top source said most of the suspects, who had earlier attempted to deny their involvement in the arms deal, were dumbfounded when confronted with concrete evidence of all the transactions they had made in the office of the ex-NSA.
“Many of the suspects, who were claiming ignorance of collecting huge sums of money from the office of the ex-NSA, were tongue tied when we brought them to face each other. I think they will soon appear in court to tell the world why they went to the ONSA to sign and collect huge sums of public money that was not meant for the purposes they were given,” an EFCC source said.
Dokpesi disagrees with earlier statement. He has modified his statement
Shortly after his arrest, Mr. Dokpesi’s company had issued a statement saying the money he received was for “publicity and media political campaigns during the 2015 general elections”.
The statement added that Mr. Dokpesi had explained to EFCC investigators that the funds were for “the various media exposures and campaign transactions which were dutifully carried out based essentially on contractual obligations/relationship”.
But on Saturday, Mr. Dokpesi’s family issued another statement on the ordeal of their patriarch, denying the funds were for political campaigns.
“We will like to make it abundantly clear that Dr. Dokpesi’s Daar Investment and Holdings Company Ltd, developed a proposal presented to the Former President Goodluck Jonathan proposing a Multi Media Strategic Development Support Project to promote and project the achievements and highlight the challenges of his government whilst demystifying false information gleefully circulated by the propaganda machinery of the then opposition party,” the family said via a statement signed by Raymond Dokpesi Jnr.
The statement also said the proposal was submitted to the former President in person by Mr. Dokpesi and his team in the presence of the former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“We must further emphasize that the proposal had absolutely nothing to do with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), nor the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC),” the family said.
The statement said the proposal was “thoroughly studied, approved and paid for by the Presidency through the office of the National Security Adviser” which “has multiple budgetary sub-heads including for communication and information”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Dr. Dokpesi has never applied nor bidded for a contract for the purchase of arms, nor has he ever been registered with the Ministry of Defence for the similar objective of engaging in the supply of arms for the government,” the family said.
Vanguard also reports that as at last night,the EFCC was making efforts to charge the suspects to court so as to free its holding facilities for more suspects who are to be taken up for massive looting of public funds in the last dispensation.
The cells of the anti-graft agency in Abuja are said to be almost overwhelmed with suspects arrested and detained in connection with the arms deals, for which the Presidency has vowed to press to a logical conclusion to prove to Nigerians that many top Nigerians looted the public treasury under the guise of buying arms and ammunition to fight terrorism.