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Wednesday, January 6, 2016
EFCC detains German businessman over Arms Scam
Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a German businessman in connection with the ongoing investigation into the $2.1bn arms procured under the Goodluck Jonathan administration and training of security personnel outside the country.
A top operative of the EFCC, who confided in our correspondent on Tuesday, said the German was arrested because investigation linked him to millions of funds meant for security and arms procurement under the immediate-past administration.
The EFCC operative said the German was arrested on Monday last week in Abuja to make clarifications on his role in the arms importation saga and other related issues.
He is still being detained by the commission as of the time of filing this report by 4pm on Tuesday.
It was learnt that he was picked up a week after a serving colonel of the Nigerian Army, who served as the Military Assistant to the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was invited for questioning in relation to the arms deal.
Operatives investigating the involvement of the German were said to have traced his financial transactions to Belarus, a former Soviet republic, which featured prominently as a theatre of training and related security events during the campaign against Boko Haram under Jonathan.
The source added, “There is this foreigner that is being detained by the EFCC over the arms deal controversy. He has spent over a week in the cell. He was picked up on December 28, 2015 and has been in detention since then.
“He is being detained because he was involved in some of the security deals with the military officer, who is being detained as a result of the same arms issue.
“They paid him a huge sum in dollars but he is believed to have spent a fraction of the money on the training (of troops); so, they are grilling him on how to get the remaining amount from him.”
The EFCC had opened investigation into the training of Nigerian Special Forces in the Eastern European country in November, 2015.
The EFCC task force, constituted to investigate arms procurement under the Jonathan administration is probing how millions of dollars meant for the training of the 750 Special Forces in Belarus and other countries in Eastern Europe were spent.
The operatives are of the opinion that huge amount of funds released for the training contract were not spent on the project.
It was gathered that the former NSA and the top hierarchy of the nation’s security structure came up with a policy to train an elite force, comprising well-trained operatives from the various security forces, to combat the Boko Haram insurgents in 2014.
The beneficiaries, drawn from the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Police and the Department of State Services, received training in counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, handling of different calibre of firearms and grenades among others.
The beneficiaries, who left the country in September, 2014, and arrived in the country in December, 2014, were immediately deployed in various operational fronts in the North East.
Attempts to get the EFCC spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as calls to his mobile telephone did not connect as of the time of sending this report.