The panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari and headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to investigate administrative infractions has uncovered fresh dirt.
According to The Nation, the committee has dug evidence implicating former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration over the distribution of over $500million cash to security agencies as Special Intervention Funds.
The panel reportedly began to “suspect that some of the special intervention funds” were used for 2015 Presidential poll after $43.4million was found at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos. It was claimed by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
So, investigations began and it was discovered that the former president’s administration had allegedly gone against the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s advice on how to share over $500million cash to security agencies.
The CBN board’s caution advisory on the funds was submitted to the VP panel, who found out that the board had wanted the funds to be shared through the “due process.”
However, sources claim that the president wanted to do otherwise.
One Presidency source said that the CBN board “showed proof that it was opposed to direct cash disbursement to security agencies including the NIA but those who testified before the panel said since there was a clear-cut presidential approval, the apex bank was handicapped. It was impossible to ignore the directive of the President.
“They claimed that since the purposes of the cash were classified matters, the advice of the CBN board was overruled more so when the nation was under security emergency.
“They explained that the same scenario applied to direct cash disbursement to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) during the tenure of Sambo Dasuki. This was why Dasuki has consistently maintained that he acted on the orders of the ex-President.”
Another source shed more light on the cash disbursement to NIA and other security agencies saying: “The panel obtained records indicating cash disbursement to NIA and other security agencies.
“So far, only the NIA has accounted for the $289million given to it. The suspended DG of the agency, Amb. Ayo Oke itemised a list of nine projects and their cost implications.
“All the details were contained in a memo Oke sent to President Muhammadu Buhari through the National Security Adviser, Gen. Babagana Monguno.
“Besides acknowledging the receipt of the memo, a team from ONSA also inspected these projects. The only area of disagreement between the panel and the NIA DG was just the status of the $43.4million which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recovered from Apartment 7B in Osborne Towers.
“NIA insisted that the cash haul was part of the $289million but the panel said it suspected the money might have been part of the special intervention funds allegedly used for 2015 general elections.
“The panel said it discovered that NIA was very strict in paying all its contractors through the CBN. Even though the agency avoided direct contact with contractors, the panel could not understand what informed the lodgement of the $43.4million in an apartment.”
However, a NIA source claims the agency did nothing wrong.
“The $43.4million was part of the $289million. This agency did not commit any infraction. And the agency was straightforward in explaining that this money forcefully retrieved by EFCC was covert operation.
“There is nowhere in the world where you keep funds for covert operations in banks or in any account. They are like security votes. You can draw examples from the CIA and FBI.
“Unless there is a predetermined agenda, the suspended DG has been transparent in managing the agency,” the source said.
Now that all of this has been uncovered, it is left is for president Buhari to make the final decision.
According to the presidency source, “The panel has completed its assignment, the buck stops on President Buhari’s table.
“Before he left, he rubbed minds with the Acting President on the recommendations. Some directions were obvious but he has to sit down or discuss with his team to finalize some issues.
“Many people were implicated, the recommendations are far-reaching and heads may roll.
“When you want to determine the fate of those in strategic positions as a leader, you have to look at all the facts. I think there is internal politics within the presidency with forces trying to outwit each other.”
Meanwhile, the panel has recommended the dismissal of Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke.
This recommendation was made after the committee investigated allegations against the SGF and NIA bosses.