N255m Bulletproof Cars’ Scam: EFCC Grills Oduah For Five Hours

FORMER Aviation Minister Stella Oduah was a guest of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday.

She was grilled for about five and half hours over the N255million bulletproof cars’ scam, which led to her sack.

The ex-minister got a provisional bail following the need to re-invite her for more questioning. But it was unclear last night when Oduah will return to the commission.

A team is analysing the ex-minister’s response to identify areas for further clarification.

It was gathered that Oduah arrived quietly at the EFCC Headquarters in Abuja at about 10am.

She was ushered into the Operations Department of the anti-graft agency where she was questioned till 3.30pm.

A source, who spoke in confidence, described Oduah’s mood as “pensive”.

The source said: “The team asked her to explain what led to the purchase of two bulletproof (armoured cars) for N255million; the purpose; and whether there was appropriation for it or not in the 2013 budget.

“She was asked for evidence of due process or concurrence/ approval by the Bureau of Public Procurement and whether her approval value was not above the limit of Ministerial Tenders Board or not.

“She was also asked to confirm if she was aware that the approved revised thresholds for service wide application (pursuant to Section 16(2) Public Procurement Act 2009 put a minister’s limit at N100million.”

Another source said: “We also isolated issues raised by former heads of agencies in the aviation industry when they appeared before EFCC. She was directed to make some clarifications.

“This interrogation is just the first in the series. We will study her statement on oath and definitely ask follow-up questions.”

Responding to a question, the source added that the EFCC was in receipt of the reports of an Administrative Committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan and House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on the car scam.”

Oduah got a “provisional bail”. This is the first time the EFCC has given a provisional bail. The agency is known for “administrative bail” system.

An official of the commission said: “The provisional bail is a temporary measure. If there is need to detain her subsequently, we will do so.

“She has been told that she might be re-invited soon by the commission.”

The President, on February 11, sacked Ms Oduah from the cabinet alongside three others.

Others are: Godswill Orubebe (Niger Delta), Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs) and Yerima Ngama (State for Finance).

Prior to her sack, the President in October 2013, set up a three-man Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the car scandal.

The panel comprised a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Sali Bello, the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenebere (rtd.).

Also, the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation investigated the scandal.

The Committee listed 12 infractions against Oduah and made some recommendations.

The report said in part: “Based on the findings of the Committee and in line with its terms of reference, the following recommendations are made:

•Given the fact that the two BMW armoured vehicles procured in the process were not provided for in the 2013 Appropriation Law nor was due process followed in their procurement, the Ministry of Aviation and NCAA should terminate with immediate effect all transactions and loan agreement it entered into with First Bank Nigeria Plc and all contracts awarded thereto;

•That all monies so far spent on the entire transaction should be recovered and returned back to the Federation Account;

•The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria should review the continued engagement of the Hon. Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, having contravened the Appropriation Act and Approved Revised Thresholds by exceeding her approval limit of N100m with the purchase of 54 vehicles value at N643m

•That EFCC and other relevant anti-corruption agencies should: (a) Further investigate the discrepancies in the chassis Number DW68032 of the vehicles on the one reported to be delivered and the one inspected by the committee; and (b) Further investigate and if found wanting, prosecute all persons/ institutions involved in the transaction

•The former Acting DG, Mr. Nkemakola Joyce and Director of Finance, Mr. S. Ozigi, should be sanctioned in accordance with the Civil Service Rules for deliberately breaching the 2013 Appropriation Act/ Extant Laws of the Federation

•That Coscharis Motors Nigeria Limited should be investigated on the issue of waiver, source and exact cost of the two BMW vehicles supplied to NCAA;

•Coscharis should be made to pay the value of the waiver into treasury account.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker