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Opinions of Monday, 12 October 2015

Columnist: vanguardngr.com

Looted billions: Buhari tightens noose on Jonathan’s men

Opinion Opinion

There were indications over the weekend that President Muhammadu buhari’s anti-corruption war is being revved up as investigations closed-in on another confidant of President Goodluck Jonathan.

The on-going investig-ations border on some scandalous deals in the petroleum industry regarding Offshore Processing Agreements, OPAs, whereby crude oil, worth billions of naira, was given to traders in exchange for refined imported products – specifically, Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, as well as the illegal use of diplomatic passports by some individuals to engage in illegal foreign exchange movements.

Sunday Vanguard investigations also revealed that the presidential directive issued last month, instructing the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, to withdraw diplomatic passports from some individuals, who are no longer in service, was a swift move by the Buhari Presidency to forestall what a source described as the “the continued use of the passports by some dirty individuals to smuggle foreign exchange out of the country”.

Meanwhile, the trial of some of “those believed to have illegally benefited from petroleum subsidy would resume with Buhari determined to ensure that monies stolen from the treasury of the Federal Government of Nigeria, FGN, would be recovered”, a Presidency source disclosed to Sunday Vanguard.

We were also made to understand that the outcry by the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who now occupies the position of Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, regarding tens of billions of dollars that were missing, can be linked to some powerful individuals who walked Aso Rock Presidential Villa freely.

Oil deals Some documents sighted by Sunday Vanguard, regarding the activities of some persons known to have enjoyed the confidence of the Villa, showed the intricate web of conspiracy for the purpose of milking the Nigerian state.

Two companies (names withheld), used principally for some of the deals which saw Nigeria losing billions of dollars through oil deals and whose addresses are the same, located in Victoria Island, were directly linked to the Presidency.

Presidency officials during the Jonathan administration had argued that the selection of one of the companies was based purely on merit and that it was not fronting for anyone.

But one of the promoters of one of the companies, who featured prominently in the “SWISS TRADERS’ OPAQUE DEALS IN NIGERIA,” is said to have had familial links with one of the confidants of the former President who got him appointed into one of the Multi-National Commissions/Joint Development Authorities, JDAs, that Nigeria had with one of its neighbours.

It was learnt that some of the directors of the Commissions/JDAs carry diplomatic passports. The companies were, according to a source, used “to engage in all manner of oil deals some of which did not enjoy the benefit of due process but were anchored and driven from the Presidency”.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the CBN’s directive on the deposit of foreign currencies into domiciliary accounts in Nigeria was a function of the realisation by the Buhari Presidency that huge sums of forex were being warehoused by some individuals who had direct access to the Villa in the last dispensation.

Indeed, a few of those who were said to have been intercepted while trying to take millions of dollars abroad were described by a Presidency source as “having direct links to Aso Rock in the last administration”.

This is a different leg of the investigation into the corruption allegedly allowed to fester by the Jonathan Presidency, totally different from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke. Acting on a petition before it, Sunday Vanguard was informed by the Presidency source that “a lot of terrible things were discovered to have happened, especially in the last days of the last administration, but Mr. President is acting on some of the information while investigations are on-going; also”.
The source added: “Those close to the Villa in the last dispensation and known to be involved are being zeroed-in on.”