Major Nigerian newspapers are today, December 10, focused on Raymond Dokpesi’s arraignment, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s revelation about Sambo Dasuki and other issues.
Vanguard reports that High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, the erstwhile chairman of DAAR Communications Plc was arraigned yesterday before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged N2.1 billion fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed a six-count criminal charge bordering on alleged procurement fraud and breach of public trust against him.
The EFCC alleged that Dokpesi received about N2.1 billion from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) for the presidential media campaign of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However, Dokpesi pleaded not guilty to the entire six-count charge, even as Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till today to consider his application for bail.
The court also directed that he be held in EFCC custody pending determination of his bail request.
According to Daily Sun, the battle line has been drawn between EFCC and corrupt individual. Ibrahim Magu, the acting chairman of the EFCC has assured that they were committed to breaking the corruption chain in a fair, accountable and transparent manner.
He said all those alleged to be involved in the arms procurement scam would be brought to book and public funds stolen in the guise of arms procurement in country will be recovered.
Magu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for creating an enabling environment for the commission to carry out its mandate, adding that he would undertake institutional reforms to increase the commission’s capacity to fight corruption.
The major headline on the front page of The Nation reads, ‘Okonjo-Iweala: Dasuki git $322m Abacha loot from me.’
Former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she transferred $322m from the looted funds recovered from late Gen. Sani Abacha to the former NSA, Sambo Dasuki for military operations in the North-East.
In a statement by her media adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, the former minister said the transfer of the fund was approved after a committee, set up by former President Goodluck Jonathan, gave approval for the use of the fund to prosecute the fight against Boko Haram.
She explained that Jonathan had set up a committee comprising the former minister of Justice, former NSA and the former minister of Finance to determine how best to use the returned Abacha loot.
Okonjo-Iweala explained that it was agreed that part of the recovered fund be used for security operations while the rest be channeled to developmental purposes.
The statement said the attempt to link the ex-minister’s name to any misuse of these funds for any purpose other than security “is totally false and cannot stand.”
Okonjo-Iweala has been under attack, mainly from Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state for allowing expenditure without authorisation.
The Punch reports that Oshiomhole has asked the federal government to arrest and prosecute Okonjo-Iweala, arguing that there was no way money could have been taken from the nation’s treasury without her knowledge.
He said the ongoing investigation into arms deals under the past administration should be thorough and all those involved in what he called “the chain of conspiracy” should be dealt with decisively.
According to the governor, Okonjo-Iweala, who was also the coordinating minister of the economy under Jonathan, could not be coordinating “a corruption-ridden economy” and be pretending to be an angel.
He added that the government could not afford to be selective in the probe because in criminal law, all those involved must be charged with conspiracy.
In other news, The Guardian reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele said he had no knowledge of the operations of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) scheme before Senate began its probe.
He denied knowledge of the appointment of a private firm to manage the transfer of funds to the apex bank in compliance with the TSA regime that led to the alleged payment of N25 billion to System Spec. System Spec is the owner of Remita, the software that was used for the transfer.
At the public hearing by the Senate Joint Committee investigating the matter, Emefiele also disclosed that he never knew about the payment of one percent of money collected to the company prior to the intervention of the Senate.