$2.1b arms: Ex-Air chief’s son forfeits 20 cars, house

Suspect, dad to face trial

Twenty exotic cars have been surrendered to the Federal Government by the son of a former Chief of Air Staff, who is facing trial for $2.1billion arms deal.

More than five properties and over N2billion have been seized from the former Chief of Air Staff, who served in ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Three former Chiefs of Air Staff are facing trial over the arms procurement (between 2007 and 2015) scandal.

They include Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (who later became a Chief of Defence Staff); Air Marshal Adesola Amosu and Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar.

The three air chiefs were accused of alleged fraud —Badeh (N3.9 billion);   Umar (N7.8billion) and Amosu (N22.8 billion).

All the former Air chiefs pleaded not guilty to the charges. Two (Umar and Amosu) initially opted for a plea bargain. But Umar has reconsidered his position on an out-of-court settlement.

The Presidential Special Investigative Committee, led by Air Vice Marhsal JON Ode, uncovered the 20 expensive cars which were  believed to have been bought with Nigeria Air Force (NAF) funds.

It was gathered that the former officer’s son has never worked. He could not have earned so much to buy the cars found in his garage, a source close to the investigation said.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said Nigerians had not heard half of what the Ode Committee uncovered.

“In the course of the committee’s work, it was discovered that Air Force funds were used to buy 20 choice cars for the son of the ex-Chief of Air Staff. All those involved had no justification for the purchase other than the allegation that the boy was a car freak.

“Air Force cash was also used to buy a house for this son of the ex-Air Chief. All the expensive cars / SUVs and the house have been temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

“This boy has also been recommended for prosecution alongside his father.  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is already working on it. I think there is suspicion that the boy has gone underground.

“More than five houses and over N2billion have been seized from the father, who was a Chief of Air Staff under the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.”

EFCC officials have been working on the committee’s report.

Some detectives have been deployed in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) where they are sieving through the report, The Nation learnt.

They are working on the panel’s recommendations.

“The revelations were startling, with many involved. In fact, the annual leave of some of the detectives has been put on hold to enable the anti-graft agency bring more suspects for trial. The good  aspect of the assignment is that the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was a member of the committee,” the source added, pleading not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation.

The source gave an insight into how the panel tried to be fair to all those implicated in the $2.1billion scandal.

“As a matter of fact, the Ode Committee allowed some of the military officers to be represented by three lawyers where evidence was presented to them, including inflow into some of the  accounts used for siphoning Air Force cash.

“At a point, some of these lawyers advised some of those implicated to consider plea bargain.  The facts were just overwhelming.”

Members of the investigative committee  include AVM J.O.N. Ode (rtd.) –Chairman; R/Adm J.A. Aikhomu (rtd.) ; R/Adm E. Ogbor (rtd.) ; Brig Gen L. Adekagun (rtd.); Brig Gen M. Aminu-Kano (rtd.) ; and Brig Gen N. Rimtip (rtd.) .

Others are Rear Admiral T.D. Ikoli ; Air Cdre U. Mohammed (rtd.); Air Cdre I. Shafi’I;  Col A.A. Ariyibi ; Gp Capt C.A. Oriaku (rtd.); Mr. Ibrahim Magu (EFCC); and Brig Gen Y.I. Shalangwa – Secretary.

Some of the areas of investigation are:

  • How 10 contracts totalling $930,500,690.00 were awarded
  • Payment of  N4,402,687,569.41 for unexecuted contracts
  • Procurement of two used Mi-24V Helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series at $136,944,000.00.
  • 4 used Alpha-Jets for the NAF at US$7,180,000.00 funded by ONSA
  • Cannibalization of engines from NAF fleet to justify procurement of jets
  • Excessive pricing of 36D6 Low Level Air Defence Radar at $33m instead of $6m per one
  • Delivery of radars without  vital component of Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) that distinguishes between own and adversary aircraft
  • Strange transfer of $2m to Mono Marine Corporation Nigeria Limited owned by some Air Force officers
  • N15bn lavished on the maintenance of its Alpha-Jets, C-130H aircraft and Mi-24V/35P helicopters.
  • N2.5billion contracts awarded to Syrius Technologies( Ukrainian company) not registered in Nigeria
  • Award of 7 contracts worth N599,118,000.00 contracts to Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria(DICON) but two delivered

 

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