President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Azibaola Roberts, remains in detention over a $40million (N12.7b) contract obtained from the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA) to ‘pacify’ militants in the Niger Delta.
Roberts, who was arrested alongside colleague Dakoru Atukpa, is the Managing Director of Kakatar Construction and Engineering Company Limited and One-Plus Holdings.
Gordy Uche (SAN), accused the EFCC of embarking on a vendetta mission against the ex-President.He said Roberts is being persecuted because of his blood link with Jonathan.
The EFCC arrested Roberts and Dakoru on March 23 as part of the ongoing probe of 300 companies involved in phantom contracts at the ONSA.
It was gathered that as at last night, the suspects, who could not meet their bail terms, were still with the EFCC.
A source in the commission said: “
The suspects were arrested in respect of payment of $40million by ONSA for a contract which was tagged as purchase of tactical equipment for Special Forces.
“When they interacted with our investigators, they could not explain what the contract was meant for. They said they used the money to pacify militants in the Niger Delta.
“Even though we wanted to accept their claim, there is no documentary evidence to show how the $40m contract was awarded, how it was disbursed and the list of beneficiaries.The case is not about being a blood relation of a former President or not. Is he the only relation of the ex-President?We are looking into payments made by ONSA and $40miilion was advanced without any record of how the contract or how it was awarded or done.”
The Head of Media and Publicity at the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the investigation of Jonathan’s cousin and Dakoru, said the agency had been fair in investigating the $40million.
He said: “It is true that they are being held and investigation is still ongoing.
“But two days after their arrest, they were offeredadministrative bail with two sureties who must be of the rank of director in the civil service. The sureties were expected to provide evidence of tax payment and N250million bank guarantee.
“ But the suspects failed to produce any surety, which made the commission to legally approach a court for an order to detain them.”
The suspects’ lawyer, Gordy Uche (SAN), in a statement in Abuja, accused the EFCC of embarking on a vendetta mission against former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said the Federal Government is still owing his client $4million being balance of the contract sum for “successfully securing oil pipelines which saw Nigeria reap billions of US dollars from increased oil production”.
He asked the commission to “either charge my clients to court or release them on bail.”