$9.3million Arms Deal: Group demands extensive probe

Pastor Oritsejafor left, is a close associate of President Jonathan.

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC, on Thursday demanded an “exhaustive” investigation into the controversial $9.3 million arms deal.

The group’s Executive Director, Auwal Musa, in a statement said the organisation demanded that the National Assembly resisted partisanship and began an immediate investigation into the deal.

Mr. Musa said the lawmakers must also make their findings public.

While urging the lawmakers to take up statutory responsibility, CISLAC said it was important to note that the explanations given by both the Federal Government and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, President did not hold water.

“CISLAC is aware of the position of the Federal Government and the explanation by the Can president. However, these are neither here nor there and only throw up more questions than they answer,” Mr. Musa said.

He said his organisation was dismayed by the refusal of a debate on the foiled arms deal by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, Emeka Ihedioha.

“We demand that the National Assembly should eschew partisanship and immediately commence and conclude a full-fledged investigation into the transaction to determine the true circumstances resulting in the movement of such huge amounts of cash to a foreign country and sanction any erring persons or institutions as demanded by the law. They should make their findings public,” he said.

The organisation also demanded the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, investigate and establish the source of the money, the involvement of the lease agents and the legality and motive of the transaction.

It also demanded the Central Bank of Nigeria, saddled with monitoring of cross-border cash transfer and cashless policy, to commence its independent investigations and make its position known to the public.

It called on the federal government to allow the relevant agencies carry out their independent investigations as done in democratic and civilised societies without any form of interference.

Mr. Musa also urged the Nigerian government to ensure that the money seized by the South African government was retrieved.

On September 5, a private jet belonging to the national president of the Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, Ayodele Oritsejafor was seized by the South African government for moving an undeclared $9.3 million from Nigeria to South Africa.

Mr. Oritsejafor, however, denied knowledge of the arms deal, saying the aircraft was managed by a company, Eagle Air Company, which in turn, leased the jet to a third party, Green Coast Produce Limited.

As criticisms mounted on the complicity of Mr.Oritsejafor in a case the South African government said seemed like money laundering, the Nigerian government claimed ownership of the money.

PRNigeria quoted a senior government official saying that the South African Government only faulted “non-declaration” of the cash by the delegation from Nigeria.

“Nigeria and South Africa are getting closer to diplomatic resolution of the row over the $9.3m transaction. The two nations have opened up discussions,” PRNigeria quoted the official.

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