29 October 2014

Secret Panel Clears Oritsejafor And Asari-Dokubo on the $9.3m Arms Deal



Secret expert panel convened to investigate whether Ayo Oritsejafor and Alhaji Mujahideen Asari-Dokubo were involved in the case of botched $9.3million arms deal allegedly cleared both.




It would be recalled that the said amount was seized in South Africa in the beginning of September, as it was illegally imported into the country. It was soon discovered that the aircraft belonged to the President of Nigeria Christian Association (CAN), pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. The cleric did not deny the fact saying however that he had leased the jet some months back and did not know for what purposes it was used.

Later it was disclosed that the money was meant to be used for buying weapons for the Nigerian security services, which was reportedly claimed by the Nigerian authorities. South Africa was said to have not been satisfied with the official explanation and started investigation into the case.

As the $9.3m saga continued, Oritsejafor became target of non-stopping verbal attacks. Former militant and the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) Asari-Dokubo was also accused of involvement. The All Progressives Congress alleged that the ex militant had flown the jet with the cash to South Africa.Today, October 29, Leadership reports with reference to the authoritative sources that both popular country figures were cleared from the allegations.
“A Special Team, comprising security agents, intelligence experts and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has investigated the $9.3million cash-for- arms deal and submitted its report to the Presidency. The committee confirmed that the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor had no connection with the transaction. The committee also discovered that the Niger Delta activist, Mujahideen Asari Dokubo was not among those on board the aircraft.”

The panel confirmed the clergyman’s words that his aircraft had been leased, following which he is not responsible for its use at the time of seizure.

“It was true that the CAN President’s jet was used but we found out that it was without his knowledge. As at the time in question, the aircraft was on lease. And you may be aware that the lease trend is peculiar to private jet owners in the country. It is the view of the committee that Oritsejafor cannot be held liable for any shuttle made by a lease firm.”

The source also expressed concern over the fact that the South African side made the matter public while those on board provided an end user certificate duly signed by the Office National Security Adviser.

“The committee’s findings revealed that the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has the statutorily and legitimately mandate to issue end-user certificate for such arms transactions. The imputations surrounding the role of the ONSA were unfounded, baseless and ill-motivated. The decision of South Africa to return $15million to Nigeria lent credence to the legality of the transaction. Certainly, Nigeria had no case to answer.”

It would be noted that soon after this incident another Nigeria’s $5.7 million was seized in South Africa, following which Nigeria threatened to sue SA.

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