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Marwa faces prosecution

Posted by Yusuf Alli, Akin Olukunle and Tony Amokeodo on 2005/12/28 | Views: 2495 |

Marwa faces prosecution


The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said in Lagos on Wednesday that the former military administrator of Lagos, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, would face trial soon.

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, said in Lagos on Wednesday that the former military administrator of Lagos, Brigadier-General Buba Marwa, would face trial soon.

Speaking at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, he said, “We are investigating Marwa concerning the Abacha loot. Of course, Nigerians will know exactly what he did. We are never at a crossroads. We know what we are doing; we are professionals. We work hard until we establish a case.

“And when we are comfortable with our case, you see us going to court, like all the other cases we have handled before. This one is not going to be different.”

The EFCC boss took up journalists on why his commission had not shown seriousness in arresting some Nigerians who collaborated with Abacha to stash public funds abroad.

He said, “Which Abacha’s case has happened before? Tell me. Which? This is the first serious case we are taking in respect of Abacha loot and Nigerians will see what we are going to do soon.

“And this case is not even here. It’s something that came from abroad. It was referred to the EFCC by an international jurisdiction.

“The issue is, we know what we are doing. When we are ready, you’ll see us. We are going to go public. He (Marwa) is in legal custody.”

Fresh facts emerged on Wednesday that about $12.8million out of the funds looted by the late Gen. Sani Abacha was traced to the account of the former military administrator.

The EFCC interrogated Marwa last Thursday and he has since been detained.

Findings showed that forensic detectives started trailing the Abacha loot in 2002, when the Nigerian government raised the matter with the Swiss authorities.

It was learnt that the probe indicated that Abacha awarded about $110million worth of contract to Mr. Raj. Arjandras Bhojwani and his company, Tata Overseas Sales and Services Limited SA.

The contract was for the supply of armoured personnel carriers for the police and Tata trucks to Ministry of Defence and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The investigation, however, revealed that the contract was inflated on April 19, 1996 from $110million to $149million.

A source in Abuja said, “About $12.8million has been traced through Cayman Island to Marwa’s accounts in Transnational Bank, Nairobi.

“In a statement to the Nigeria Police on June 18, 2004 Marwa denied having anything to do with the Cayman Island’s account.”

He said a further probe of the contract scam by the Attorney-General of Jersey allegedly indicted Marwa.

He said the AGJ recommended a freezing of Marwa’s assets in United Kingdom, including a Penthouse he bought in November 1997 at Maryleborne Road, London.

The value of the house is put at $2.9million.

A report to the Presidency had indicated that an Israeli, one Mr. Gabriel Katri, might have brokered the deal between Abacha and Marwa.

The report indicated that Marwa may have used brokerage from the deal might have been used to set up his airlines.

But Marwa in his statement to the EFCC on December 22, 2005 denied that he established his companies with Abacha loot.

A source said he admitted that some funds passed through his account, but he expected that no money would stay there.

He said it was the late Abacha who directed him to make his account number available and he had no choice than to respect his Commander-In-Chief.

On Albarka Airlines, he said Katri advanced a loan of $8million with which he started business, vehemently denying any wrongdoing.

Lawyer to Marwa, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), on Wednesday, said he could not comment on the allegation against the retired General, as his chambers in Lagos was only briefed of the matter on December 27.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent in Lagos, Babalola said, “The head of my chambers in Lagos, Mr. Olu Daramola, was only briefed on December 27.

“He is yet to get back to me with the case file. It will therefore be difficult for me to comment on the allegation against Marwa. It is when we study the case file that we can respond accordingly.”

The PUNCH, Thursday, December 29, 2005

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.