• Dasuki’s aides in EFCC custody for almost two weeks
• Manhunt launched for former service chiefs
A former Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the alleged $2 billion arms deals being investigated by the federal government.
The spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest on the phone last night, said the former minister was arrested at about 4 pm yesterday.
“The former minister was arrested at about 4pm today (yesterday) and operatives of the EFCC are currently interrogating him at headquarters in Abuja,” Uwujaren said.
Another source in the EFCC said that the Director of Finance and Admin in the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr. Shauibu Salisu, was also arrested yesterday for the same alleged offence.
The director was alleged to have operated a joint bank account with former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, who has been under house arrest for almost a month.
Asked if Yuguda would be released on bail, the EFCC spokesman expressed doubts that he would be released before his possible arraignment.
THISDAY gathered that Yuguda’s arrest was prompted by the purported payment of large sums of money relating to purchase of arms by the office of the NSA to his private account, which the former minister could not account for.
On the director’s arrest, the EFCC source said: “We just discovered a huge sum of money in foreign currencies in a joint account — being operated by the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and a director in his office, one Shauibu Salisu. He is also being interrogated by EFCC operatives.”
Expensive properties in Abuja and Dubai were allegedly linked to the director.
Also in custody over the arms procurement deals are the sons of Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State and Haliru Bello Mohamed, former Minister of Defence and ex-National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to online news website, Premium Times, Sagir Bafarawa, allegedly acting as front for his father, received N4.6 billion from the NSA’s office.
Attahiru Bafarawa recently escaped arrest but the EFCC has said that the former governor remains on its radar.
The ex-PDP chairman’s son, Abbah Mohammed, on his part got N600 milion in the name of Bam Properties Limited.
A manhunt for former military chiefs was also said to have been launched by the Nigerian security agencies recently.
The search is in a bid to bring certain security officials to book for their roles in the arms deals that cost the nation billions of dollars.
THISDAY gathered that the suspects might have their movements restricted to the country, pending further interrogation and arraignment in court.
The former NSA is currently facing charges for the illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
He was also indicted by a presidential panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the procurement of arms by the armed forces and defence sector between 2007 to date.
A preliminary report by the panel said the former NSA presided over the procurement of several fictitious and failed contracts running into billions of dollars for arms and military hardware that were never supplied for the war against the insurgency in the North-east.
However, Dasuki has debunked the findings by the presidential committee, describing them as propaganda meant to tarnish his image.
He has also stated that he has nothing incriminating to hide and vowed to defend himself before a duly constituted court of law.
Dasuki on November 3rd obtained a court order permitting him to travel abroad for medical treatment. However, the order was ignored by the Department of State Services (DSS), whose operatives have laid siege to his residence in Abuja for a month.
THISDAY also learnt that other than Yuguda and Salisu, several other aides of the former NSA were reportedly arrested by the EFCC in connection with the arms procurement deals and have been in the custody of the commission for more than a week.
Sources close to Dasuki confirmed to THISDAY that the affected individuals, including a certain foreign military trainer, were arrested by the anti-graft agency over a week ago without charges.
“What I can tell you is that these people, most of whom have no business with these allegations have been arrested without being charged to court for over a week. They don’t even know what their charges are,” the source said.