The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday grilled Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (retd.), for several hours at its head office in Abuja.
Madueke, who is the husband of the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani, was said to have honoured an invitation by the commission.
The interrogation of Madueke, one of our correspondents learnt, followed the discovery of about $600,000 in his personal accounts.
He was said to have been released on administrative bail while his passport was seized by the anti-graft agency.
He was also asked to return to the EFCC at a later date to answer more questions.
The lawyer for the Madueke family, Mr. Oscar Onwudiwe, confirmed that the former Chief of Naval Staff was at the EFCC office.
He, however, said he did not know the reason for his invitation.
Onwudiwe said, “He honoured an invitation by the EFCC and has left.”
When asked why Madueke was invited, the lawyer said, “I really do not know. The EFCC has become something else under this government. They have been empowered and believe the best way to work is to leak stories to the media.”
On the allegation of money laundering, Onwudiwe said, “I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to him yet.”
Attempts to get the EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as calls to his mobile phone did not connect.
A top operative in the commission, who confided in The PUNCH, said the former Chief of Naval Staff had been released.
“He was summoned over $600,000 allegedly found in his accounts. He has been given an administrative bail.”
Meanwhile, the commission has moved the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (retd.), from Abuja to Lagos as its investigations into the $2.1bn arms scandal intensify.
The PUNCH learnt on Wednesday from a reliable source within the EFCC that some of Badeh’s properties in Lagos might be searched and seized by the commission.
Badeh, who has been in the custody of the anti-graft agency since February 8, is being questioned in connection with arms contracts totalling $930.5m, which were allegedly awarded under his leadership.
The money is said to be part of the $2.1bn meant for arms purchase, which was under the control of the Office of the National Security Adviser, headed then by Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
Badeh is also said to be answering questions on the non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
A reliable source said Badeh’s movement to Lagos was to identify some properties or business that might belong to him.
He explained that under the law, the EFCC could invoke the Assets Forfeiture clause to seize the properties of those who allegedly diverted or misappropriated funds meant for arms procurement in line with sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.
The detective added, “We are trying to trace houses that belong to some of the military chiefs. Apart from checking their bank accounts, we want to find out if part of the money for arms procurement was spent on those houses.
“Based on the outcome of our investigations, Badeh may be charged to a Lagos High Court instead of Abuja.”
Two weeks ago, the commission seized houses said to be worth over N5bn, belonging to some Nigerian Air Force officials.
The houses, which were seized in the Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Ikeja and Badagry areas of Lagos State, allegedly belong to the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.); the immediate past Chief of Accounts and Budgeting of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal J. B. Adigun; and Air Commodore O. O. Gbadebo, who was the Director of Finance and Budget at NAF.
In a related development, the EFCC said it had obtained a remand order to keep Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, the Aide-de-Camp to former President Goodluck Jonathan in detention pending investigations.
A reliable source in the EFCC told our correspondent on Wednesday that with the remand order, Adegbe could remain in custody for the next 20 days.
The ex-president’s ADC has meanwhile denied media reports that he said Nigeria would burn if he revealed what happened under the Jonathan’s administration.
In a letter written by his lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja (SAN), Adegbe said he would sue the newspaper which carried the story which he described as false.