Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, may be arrested before May 29, considering the level of investigations conducted on his administration, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
An EFCC source said Jonathan may be arrested before the current administration clocks its first year in office.
The source disclosed that the arrest, two weeks ago, of the Managing Director of Kakatar Engineering and Construction Company Limited, Mr. Azibaola Robert, whom the official described as “closest kinsman of former president Jonathan so far,” was a clear indication that “we are inching close to making former President Jonathan our guest.”
The official dismissed as reckless recent comments by another former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, dismissing the anti-graft agency as a “toothless bulldog.”
The EFCC chief predicted that “unfolding events in the next few weeks will actually confirm whether the EFCC has indeed become a toothless bulldog.”
Said the official, “We arrested Mr. Azibaola Robert on March 23, 2016 when he came to honour our invitation. We also arrested his wife, but she has since been granted bail.
The following day, we arrested Dakoru Atukpa, Executive Director of his company. As we speak, both men are in our custody and are helping with vital information needed to nail the former president.”
According to the official, Robert and Atukpa were arrested in connection with what he described as “ongoing investigations” into a $40 million oil pipeline security contract, which emanated from the Ministry of Petroluem, but was paid for by the office of the equally detained former National Security Adviser (NSA), Retired Col. Sambo Dasuki.
The EFCC official said the commission was working on a lead that One-Plus Nigeria Limited, Kakatar’s sister company which secured the oil pipeline security contract, may have been a front of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said, “Even though One-Plus appeared to have successfully executed the contract, we are interested in details of how the company executed the job, including those who got paid from the $40 million sum.
“Even though we are still investigating, there is sufficient suspicion that both men used One-Plus as front of the former President.
The Managing Director of One-Plus has constantly maintained that the company was incorporated well before Jonathan became Vice President, and that it wasn’t a crime to come from Otuoke,” offered the official.
The EFCC official said the commission was unsettled by former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent description of the agency as a toothless bulldog, and was committed to taking on persons considered sacred cows just to prove Obasanjo wrong.
He said, ‘You know former President Obasanjo has his unique way of passing his message. Before Obasanjo even described our Commission as a toothless bulldog, several persons accused us of shielding former President Jonathan.
The truth is that we are not shielding anybody. It will not be good for us to rush to court only to be disgraced, the reason we took this long to make the arrests.
“However, be assured that a very big fish will land in our net before May 29. We intend to make the arrest of this big fish a Democracy Day gift to Nigerians,” offered the official.
Tasked to unmask the identity of the “big fish,” the EFCC official retorted, “you are a journalist and should know better.”
The EFCC official ruled out the possibility of an early arraignment for Jonathan’s kinsmen, saying, “we will keep them in custody for as long as possible, and for as long as they cooperate and tell us the whole truth about what they know about the transactions, and the involvement of the former president.”
“Fortunately, we have secured a court order to keep them (Jonathan’s kinsmen) for another two weeks. If need be, we will apply for an extension. But be assured that we won’t allow this matter go the way of others.
With this case, we will prove those who accuse us of being toothless bulldogs wrong.”
Contacted, head of media of Kakatar, Mr. Austin Ekheinde, declined comments, referring reporters his boss’s lawyer Gordy Uche, SAN, who confirmed the arrest of the MD and ED of Kakatar CE Limited by EFCC.
Uche said, “Yes, EFCC arrested my clients Messrs Azibaola Robert and Dakoru Atukpa, MD and ED respectively of Kakatar CE and One-Plus, on March 23 and 24th respectively, when they went to honour EFCC invitation.”
The lawyer confirmed that both men were being detained in connection with a $40 million pipeline security contract, and the purchase of a N650 million house, but that the EFCC has refused to arraign them before a competent court.
According to the SAN, operatives of the commission conducted several searches on the offices of the detained men, carting away several documents .
The lawyer said he was reasonably informed that both men were being made to make statements under duress implicating former President Goodluck Jonathan ostensibly to serve certain interests.
Aside Obasanjo, who dubbed the EFCC a “toothless bulldog” for not going after “sacred cows,” top officials of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have been mounting pressures on President Muhammadu Buhari to give EFCC the nod to arrest Jonathan, who last year shocked the world by becoming the first African president to concede defeat in a presidential election even before the results were officially released.