$9.3 million South Africa arms deal ‘shady’, APC insists

Lai Mohammed
Lai Mohammed

The All Progressives Congress, APC, has slammed the PDP-led Federal Government for what the party called the government’s “insulting and disingenuous” explanation aimed at deceiving Nigerians over the US$9.3 million cash-for-arms deal that went awry in South Africa, saying everything about the deal is shady.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said the deal violates the foreign currency laws of Nigeria and South Africa, violates Nigeria’s Money Laundering law as well as the Public Procurement Act and makes a mess of the Federal Government’s cashless policy.

In addition, it said, all the circumstances surrounding the transaction were umbrageous, including the fact that the funds involved, though in cash, were neither declared before departure in Nigeria nor declared on arrival in South Africa.

”Based on these shady circumstances, one can safely conclude that the arms to be procured, if at all, were not meant for any Boko Haram fight as claimed by the government but perhaps a ploy to stockpile arms for the private militia of the PDP ahead of next year’s general elections.

”As we said in our earlier statements on this issue, the office of the NSA cannot and does not procure arms for the armed services. These services procure their own weapons. Therefore, it baffles that the office of the NSA issued the end-user certificate for the transactions. This is a shady deal,” APC said.

The party said in order to buttress its assertion that the whole deal is shady, there are questions that the Federal Government has bluntly refused to answer in connection with the ill-fated deal, including why a private plane was used for a supposedly-official deal when there are over 10 aircraft in the Presidential Fleet.

Nigerians are also eager to know why the money for the purchase of the arms was not transferred to the country’s Embassy in South Africa for onward transfer to the contractor, if indeed a contractor was used as claimed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the money transferred directly to the contractor, and why the Nigerian government chose to deal with an arms contractor with questionable registration in South Africa.

”If indeed the transaction was clean and official, which representatives of the office of the NSA and the Chief of Defence Staff were on the dollar-ferrying plane? Who indeed was the arms meant for? And perhaps the most important information of all: Who and who were on the plane?,” it said.

APC said Nigerians are more interested in who was on the plane rather than who was not on it, hence the government should stop hiding behind “national security” and come out to identify those on the plane.

The party said irrespective of the feverish moves by the Federal Government, using less-than-sincere officials, to spin the whole shady deal and make it look clean and official, the truth is that even terrorists could not have been engaged in a shadier and more crooked deal to obtain weapons.

Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)
Abuja, Oct. 14th 2014

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