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Why Marwa was detained by EFCC

Posted by By FEMI BABAFEM on 2005/12/26 | Views: 664 |

Why Marwa was detained by EFCC


Facts emerged weekend why former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Facts emerged weekend why former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Marwa’s invitation and subsequent detention, which is already being interpreted by some northern leaders as a deliberate effort by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to clamp down on presidential aspirants from the region to pave the way for the alleged third term project, is in connection with an allegation that he is in custody of some funds looted by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

EFCC sources told Daily Sun that the allegation which had been investigated in 2001 by security agents under the supervision of the National Security Adviser (NSA) Gen. Aliyu Gusau was closed because there was no concrete clue to establish that Marwa is in custody of the funds put at about 12 million dollars, even though the money passed through him to an account owned by Abacha in Transnational Bank in Kenya before the late military ruler passed on.

A close ally of President Obasanjo, Marwa was believed to have run into fresh trouble over the issue when about two months ago, officials of the EFCC told him that the case was being investigated afresh following a petition sent to the commission.

In view of his close relationship with President Obasanjo, some sources have however fingered the NSA, Gen. Gusau as the brain behind Marwa’s ordeal in a bid to clear the way for his own presidential ambition which he is set to make public after his resignation in January.
Efforts to get Marwa on phone at the weekend failed as his phones were said to have been collected from him by the EFCC officials and switched off.

Details of investigation

According to security sources, Marwa had been invited by security agents in 2001 to shed light on a contract he signed for the purchase of about 2,000 military vehicles on behalf of the Federal Government when he was Nigeria’s Defence Adviser at the United Nations in New York, U.S.A. The contract was said to have been valued at 120 million dollars.

The reports indicate that Gen. Abacha had directed Marwa to travel to India to inspect some military vehicles and enquire whether the manufacturers could sell same to Nigeria in view of the international embargo placed on the country then. After an agreement was reached between the Indian company and the Federal Government, the Federal Ministry of Finance was said to have prepared the contract papers which Marwa signed on behalf of the Federal Government.

Marwa told EFCC investigators that though he signed the contract, the actual negotiation was done by a civilian, who was an associate of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
Thereafter, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria were said to have made payments to the Indian company which in turn supplied about 2,000 military vehicles. Investigations further showed that the late Head of State thereafter directed the then National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) to order for the same vehicles from the Indian company through a senior Army officer attached to the commission. The NECON contract was valued at 40 million dollars.
It was also learnt that Abacha few months later asked both Marwa and the Army officer with NECON to open bank accounts for him through which he intended to transact some business. Reports also indicate that Abacha later transferred 9 million dollars to the account opened by Marwa while an undisclosed amount was also transferred to that of the other Army officer. It was gathered that the funds in the account opened by Marwa was later moved to an account owned by Abacha in Transnational Bank in Kenya. Security reports also showed that some funds much more than the 9 million dollars were later moved from the bank to another location in West Indies.

Marwa’s statement

Reports further indicate that Marwa had in 2001 told security agents probing the transaction that he indeed signed the contract papers as directed by the Head of State who also doubled as the Defence Minister from whom he took direct orders. Besides, he was also said to have told his investigators all he knew about the transfer of the said money by Abacha up to the Kenyan account. He, however, denied knowledge of how the money was moved from Kenya and into whose account it was moved in West Indies. The investigators were said to have gotten to a deadlock at that point since they could not establish whose account the funds were moved into in West Indies, and later dropped the probe until it was re-opened about two months ago by the EFCC.

Albarka Airline connection

The establishment of Albarka airlines by Marwa was said to have formed part of the investigation by security agents in 2001. He was asked how he got the money to establish the airline. In his response, Marwa was said to have told them that he sourced for the loan to buy four BAC-111 aircraft with which he started the business.
This also formed part of the questions while he presented them all the loan documents. EFCC officials asked him the same question last week and he was said to have told them the same thing and added that the said loan is already in default due to the crisis the airline has been going through as a result of the ban on most of the aircraft in its fleet over two years ago.

Northern leaders fury

Two Northern leaders who spoke with Daily Sun under anonymity weekend over Marwa’s detention expressed shock over the former administrator’s plight.
One of them, a vocal senator between 1999 and 2003 said, "there is no way we can separate the plight of this young man from the desperation of this evil third term agenda. Look at what is happening to almost every candidate coming out from the North and this particular one has been loyal and supportive to Obasanjo. I only hope the unity and peace of this country is taken far and above every other interest. Sen. Idris Kuta raised this alarm few months ago when he said that the Federal Government was looking for every means to nail every presidential aspirant to pave way for Obasanjo to succeed himself. It’s all coming to pass now."
Another leader who is a chieftain of the newly formed Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) said "all this is confirming what many of us have been shouting about, that Obasanjo wants to stay put and he is ready to sacrifice anybody on his way to achieve this."

Gusau/IBB connection

Some other watchers of the on-going power play ahead of the 2007 election believe that this may have nothing to do with Obasanjo’s third term agenda since it is not likely that Marwa will contest against the President if he decides to run because of his loyalty and close relationship with President Obasanjo.
Those observers are, however, pointing fingers at Gen. Gusau and former military leader, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who may have aligned because of their agelong mutual interests to eliminate Marwa from the race.
It was said that Gusau recently intensified his campaign for the 2007 race after getting a prominent member of the Movement for the Defence of Democracy (MDD), Prof. Ango Abdullahi to kickstart the process with consultations round Northern states. The NSA is believed to have engineered Marwa’s arrest and detention so as to cut him down before leaving office next month to face his campaign.

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)