Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said that former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki did not steal $2.2 billion meant for arms procurement as claimed by the nation’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Jonathan described the allegations of misappropriation of funds meant for procuring arms for the military in to fight the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, during his administration as false and baseless.
Speaking at the famous Oxford Union, Oxford, United Kingdom on youth entrepreneurship, Jonathan said it was “not just possible” for Dasuki to have stolen $2.2 billion with the several sophisticated armoury his administration procured for the military.
He said, “They said the National Security Adviser stole $2.2billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion. We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth. And you are still saying 2.2 billion, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
Dasuki has been in detention since December 1, 2015, following his arrest by the State Security Service for allegedly misappropriating $2.2 billion meant to purchase equipment for the Nigerian military.
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, last Friday, granted an application by the EFCC to consolidate two separate cases against the former army Colonel.
A statement by the anti-graft commission said Dasuki would be re-arraigned on November 16.
Commenting on some alleged corruption incidences traced to his administration, Jonathan noted that some of the allegations were “exaggerated”.
He said: “Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of them were blown, I’d say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible,” he said.
He, however, said that as some of the corruption cases were still in court, he would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts of the matter and that he did not want to appear as challenging the incumbent government.
He explained that governments had been overthrown in the past because they were accused of being corrupt, only for the new administration itself to be pushed out by another junta touting the anti-corruption mantra.
“You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government,” he said.
He further argued that corruption was a global problem, but said the perception of corruption was greater in Nigeria due to the Nigerian media’s obsession with reporting on corruption.
“I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria, there is corruption. If you look at corruption, there is almost no country that is free, the degree varies, the perception varies,” he said.
“Transparency International talks about the way corruption is being perceived in different economies, why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived, it depends on the issue raised in the media every day.”
Jonathan however noted that the courts should be left to decide the cases before those concerned are pronounced guilty.