Some of the top military officers under probe for the $2.1 billion phoney arms deals have lost their command positions, it was learnt yesterday.
The Presidency has also replaced the designated military attache for the embassy in Germany.
It was gathered that the military officers under investigation have been detained at a facility in one of the barracks in Abuja.
The Presidency handed over a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, and 17 others to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for investigation on their involvement in the scandal.
The list include 11 military officers and two former Chiefs of Air Staff, Air Marshals M.D. Umar and A.N. Amosu(retd.)
A source at the EFCC said: “Investigation is still ongoing in respect of the past and serving military officers referred to this commission.
“I cannot say exactly when their trial will begin but investigation has reached appreciable level.”
It was unclear if the affected military officers will be tried by military tribunal or by a civil court.
“I think the weight of their offences and the sensitive nature of infractions will determine whether or not they will be arraigned before the military tribunal or a civil court.
“For instance, one of the suspects is from the Intelligence Unit. It will be challenging subjecting such an officer to an open trial in a law court.”
Section 113 of the Armed Forces Act(2004) makes an officer found guilty liable for an imprisonment of five years.
The section says: “A person subject to service law under this Act who by means of a fraudulent trick or device-
(a) obtains from another person anything capable of being stolen; or
(b) induces another person-
(i) to deliver to any person a thing capable of being stolen; or
(ii) to pay or deliver to any person any money or goods or any greater sum of money or greater quantity of goods than he would have paid or delivered but for the trick or device,
is guilty of an offence under this section and liable, on conviction by a court-martial, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.”
A military source said last night: “All the serving military officers have lost their command positions. In fact, irrespective of their status(whether guilty or not), fairness demands that they should step aside until their trial is concluded.
“This is a standard military practice, which we have already adhered to. There is no way they can still be holding these sensitive military positions.”
Some of those serving military officers are: AVM A. M. Mamu(the Chief of Administration); AVM R.A. Ojuawo (Air Officer Tactical Air Command, Makurdi; AVM J.B. Adigun( Chief of Accounts and Budgeting in NAF); AVM T Omenyi (MD, NAF Holdings); Col. N. Ashinze(Designated Military attache to Nigerian Embassy in Germany)
Their replacements are: AVM A.A. Jekenu(Chief of Administration); AVM B. G. Saidu(Chief of Policy and plans (DHQ); AVM E.A. Anebi(Director of Production, Defence Headquarters); and AVM E.E. Agwungwu(Acting AOC, Tactical Air Command); and Air Commodore Clement Ogbeche(Chief of Accounts and Budget); AVM Lawal Alao (Managing Director, NAF Holding Company (NAFHC).
There were indications last night that the Presidency has replaced Col. Ashinze as the military attache to the Nigerian Embassy in Germany because of the ongoing investigation.
A top source said: “The government cannot wait till the end of investigation before posting a military attache to Germany. Col. Ashinze has been dropped from this assignment.
“A new attache must have resumed by now.”