I’m not a thief, and not afraid to face trial, ex-NSA, Sambo Dasuki, tells Nigerians

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The immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has said he is not a thief as being speculated by President Muhammdu Buhari and his aides. The former NSA also accused Mr. Buhari of being desperate to hang some former public and military officers who risked their lives to serve the country.
In a statement Wednesday, Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, described the way the Presidency was feeding the public with allegations against his person and other yet-to-be-named public officers as “theatrical.”

President Buhari had on Tuesday received the interim report of the investigative committee on arms procurement with an order for the arrest of all indicted persons in the arms scam.
The information was contained in a statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.

According to Mr. Adesina, the committee which was inaugurated on August 31 is yet to complete its work. He, however, noted that the interim report has unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions.

“As part of the findings, the committee has analysed interventions from some organisations that provided funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, both in local and foreign currencies,’’ the report stated.

It stated that so far the total extra budgetary interventions collated by the committee was N643.8 billion while the foreign currency component was $2.2 billion.
But Mr. Dasuki debunked the allegations, saying the Presidency quoted absurd findings in a bid to draw public sympathy.

“For undiscerning Nigerians, they may tend to assume that the allegations were true and pronounce the former NSA guilty as charged,” Mr. Dasuki said.

The former NSA said the statement by the presidential spokesperson and former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, was nothing short of propaganda aimed at casting aspersion on his person.

“To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM Jon Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. “At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions.
“If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.”

Mr. Dasuki said the Presidency alleged that the panel accused him of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. But contrary to the claim, Mr. Dasuki said he was not the NSA in March 2012 and could not have awarded any contract during the period. According to him, the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, appointed him NSA on June 22, 2012. He explained that all contracts and accruing payments were made based on the approval of Mr. Jonathan, adding that due process and military procurement regulations were followed in all the transactions.

“Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment,” said Mr. Dasuki. “For sensitive sectors (military/security), there was no room for awarding fictitious contracts. The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence. “There were no fictitious contracts; contract sums were not diverted and the relevant services in writing acknowledged delivery of equipment. For all procurement, the Nigerian Army, the Air Force and the Nigerian Navy have their contractors.”

While awaiting judicial process on the allegations, he argued that it was proper to make some references to show that the presidency was just desperate to hang some former public and military officers who served the nation at the risk of their lives.

He said it was laughable for the panel to assume that four Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were not delivered to the country. He cited a memo from the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Adesola Amosu, with reference number NAF/905/D/CAS, dated November 28, 2014, in which the Nigeria Air Force acknowledged receipt of Alpha jets and the helicopters. On October 21, 2014, he said NAF also confirmed the receipt of F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000 as well as receipt of 2xTri Shield 36DG Tactical radars.

In another letter of December 1, 2014, signed by L.S. Alao (on behalf of the Chief of Air Staff), the Air Force said it received five containerized fuel storage and dispensing units with equipment. He also noted that the Nigerian Army wrote to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, to acknowledge the delivery of 14 armoured tanks.

In a December 13, 2014 memo, he indicated that the Brigade of Guards thanked ONSA for releasing N30m for RCA, Operation allowance for Troops on Op Urban Sweep II for third and fourth quarters of 2014. He further indicated that his office installed CCT cameras at the Brigade Headquarters, two backscatter bomb detection vans and other equipment.

On November 26, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, sought approval of the award of one pair of uniform (in the interim) for the Armed Forces at N165, 375 to El-Jahab Mubarak Nigeria and N330, 750,000, for two pairs.

“These are some of the acknowledgment letters submitted to me by the end-users (the services). It is not for me to go and find out whether the equipment were delivered or not. I am not the one keeping the inventories, Mr. Dasuki stated. “To show that I have nothing to hide, I submitted a comprehensive list of all requests for procurement by the services, the items bought and those equipment being awaited to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, long before I left office. If there were issues, I should have been questioned. “I was just the clearing house, I did not award contracts to my company or proxies. There was no contract awarded or equipment bought without approval from the then President and Commander-In-Chief. I am not a thief or treasury looter as being portrayed. “In order not to endanger the nation’s security, there are many salient issues and contracts which I cannot put in public domain. I am ready for trial on all these allegations in order to prove to Nigerians that I did nothing untoward in office. We will certainly meet in court. “I have a lot to tell Nigerians but in the interim, they should not believe some of the allegations as the gospel truths. The good thing is that some of the key actors in the present administration were parts of the past process being viciously challenged. “As for my tenure as the nation’s NSA, I acted in the interest of the nation and with utmost fear of God. I did not use the office for any self-serving agenda. I occupied the Office of the National Security Adviser at a difficult moment in Nigerian history when terrorism was at its peak and I am leaving posterity to judge me accordingly.”