The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered $12.9billion more arms deal fraud during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan; it was learnt yesterday.
The development has brought arms funds, which were diverted to other uses, to $15billion as the initial probe covered only $2.1billion.
As part of the ongoing investigation of the arms deals, the EFCC yesterday froze an account with $500million. The owner of the account was not immediately known.
The anti-graft commission has seized houses from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Besides, a wrist watch worth £600,000 and jewelry in gold and diamond have been confiscated from Mrs. Alison-Madueke, a source said.
These details are contained in an update on the ongoing investigation of the arms deals by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
There are indications that many military officers may be questioned. A source, who spoke in confidence on the investigation, said: “From our findings so far, the amount involved in the arms deals was over $15billion. The $2.1billion which you have written so much about is just one transaction into an account in the First Bank of Nigeria in New York.
“They moved the money into the FBN account from where they were disbursing and re-routing the cash. Our priority is to recover these funds, but we will still prosecute the individuals and companies involved.
“Most of these companies were incorporated by serving military officers, and these officers were the sole signatories into the accounts of these companies.
“All these suspects are not showing remorse, they think that they can go away with the fraud, but we won’t allow them.
“Yet when we interrogate them, you see them wearing pampers and cannot stand or walk in public for a long time. Then, you are tempted to ask why they have to steal all these funds meant for public projects.
“The Trauma Centre at the National Hospital with a helipad was built with N1.8billion; you can imagine how many of such centres and schools these looted funds can provide.”
The source also explained that the EFCC yesterday intercepted about $500million in an account and blocked it. “Just some few hours ago, our investigators today (Tuesday) blocked an account with about $500million. We are already looking at all clues on how the cash was wired.
“What we have recovered in just one year is more than the total recovery by the EFCC since inception. There was huge looting which will affect the coming generation if the funds are not recovered.”
The source gave insights into the probe of a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and businessman Jide Omokore.
”We have seized many houses belonging to Diezani and Omokore on Banana Island and other places. Also, a wristwatch of about £1.4million was seized from Omokore’s wife.
“From the former minister, we have retrieved a choice wrist watch worth £600,000 and jewelry in gold and diamond. We will soon show Nigerians all these items for them to appreciate what we have done and to learn some lessons.”
He explained that at the time the wrist watches were seized, the price tags were there.