The former chief security officer of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Gordon Obua, has denied any role in an alleged multimillion dollar inflated contract for the purchase of speech platforms from Mr. Jonathan.
The transaction involved the purchase of three 40-feet mobile rostrums at $6.9 million, paid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The deal was allegedly sealed between the former president, Mr. Obua and a former petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
Federal government investigators and security agencies told PREMIUM TIMES the contract, executed in 2011, was one of many allegedly corrupt practices engaged and condoned under the presidency of the immediate past president.
Besides the fact that the sum for the stages had been incredibly inflated according to mobile stages industry experts, government investigators said there was no evidence that any stage was purchased.
The process of procurement of the three mobile stages was neither known to extant Nigerian laws and due process regulations, nor were the offices of the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General in the know, according to investigators.
A source also said Mr. Obua was at the centre of the fraudulent financial ring, and that he initiated a memo to the former president asking for the purchase of three mobile stages.
But Mr. Obua, who had earlier been arrested and released by state security agents, denied initiating the memo to Mr. Jonathan.
A statement released by his lawyer, Andrew Itsekiri, on Monday, said the former CSO did not receive a penny for the construction of any stage for Mr. Jonathan.
Mr. Obua said the company that purportedly received $6.9 million for the construction of stages was not owned by him and that he had no link to the firm.
He challenged those behind the allegation to produce evidence from the corporate commission Abuja linking the ownership of any such company to him.
He also challenged the leadership of the NNPC to identify the person or the owner of the company to whom the purported money was paid.
Mr. Itsekiri also pointed out that resorting to “media trial” was a calculated attempt by the government to discredit his client after agencies of government had investigated him and found nothing with which to nail him.
“Our client did not know anything about the purported transactions. He did not initiate any memo to the then presidency. It is a mere cheap blackmail,” Mr. Itsekiri said.
”The authorities have a duty to dispel claims that the whole idea is to hurriedly charge him to court with no single shred of evidence to convict, with the expectation that his innocence can only be established years later, after his reputation would have been irredeemably dented before an unsuspecting public.”
Mr. Itsekiri said the Muhammadu Buhari administration ”would be setting a dangerous precedent by deliberately subjecting innocent people to media trial, knowing clearly that the cases are seriously bereft of facts and evidence, linking such persons to the crimes advertised”.