Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been reported to have granted extra budgetary spending of about $2.1billion within nine months to former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki. The payments were alleged to have been authorised to be withdrawn from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The Cable, a respectable online newspaper, which published the report exclusively on Monday also reported that Jonathan approved another extra budgetary payment of N40 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to the office of the NSA, in 2014.
The newspaper also reported that another sum of N20 billion was also approved by the former President to be paid by the CBN to the Department of State Services, DSS, although it alleged that the money was eventually routed to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to finance its 2015 electioneering campaigns.
The federal government has been in a legal tango with Dasuki who is being prosecuted for money laundering and illegal gun possession. Although a Federal High Court in Abuja has granted his bail application to travel overseas for medical attention, the government and security agencies have been reluctant to allow him travel out of the country for what security sources refer to as “the monumental looting of security funds meant equipping the military and security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram.
Recently, President Buhari ordered the arrest of Dasuki and other unnamed persons in the security sector for their involvement in illegal payments for fake contracts amounting to billions of dollars.
The Cable, quoting documents it claimed have been made available to it gave the breakdown of the extra budgetary payments approved by Jonathan for Dausuki to include “$1 billion on March 27, 2014; $200 million on April 9, 2014; $600 million on May 5, 2014; and, same day, $200 million following a request for $250 million.”
It said that another sum of $100 million was again collected by Dasuki from the NNPC in January 12, 2015, bringing the total to $2.1 billion
In response to reports that he was wanted for questioning regarding illegal payments for fake or unexecuted contracts, Dasuki had defended himself by saying that all transactions under his watch had presidential approval.
“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,” Dasuki had stated
The former NSA’s claims were, however, denied by the former President who said that he never awarded any arms procurement contracts worth $2 billion.
“I did not award any $2 billion contract for procurement of weapons,” Jonathan stated at an event in Washington.
However, The Cable’s Monday report appears to have corroborated Dasuki’s claim that all procurements for arms under him were approved by Jonathan.
“Jonathan approved all the disbursements by NNPC, with his senior special assistant on administrative matters, Matt Aikhionbere, writing the covering letters conveying presidential consent to the corporation after the president had minuted on Dasuki’s requests,” the newspaper reported.
Apart from the extra budgetary payments sourced from the NNPC, the newspaper also reported that the CBN paid out N60 billion to the NSA’s office and the DSS, although there was no appropriation for the expenditure.
According to The Cable, Dasuki had written to the acting CBN governor, Sarah Alada, shortly after Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was removed as the governor, requesting for N60 billion, a request that was turned down because it lacked presidential approval.
In June 2014, after Godwin Emefiele was appointed as CBN governor, Dasuki again made the request for N60 billion from the apex bank but it was denied again for some procedural reasons.
Not discouraged, the former NSA again presented the request, this time copying ex – President Jonathan who approved N40 billion for the NSA’s office and N20 billion for the DSS.