The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Managing Director of Stallion Group, Harprrie Singh, over an alleged N1.25bn gift to former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.
Investigation revealed that the conglomerate was among some companies that were being investigated by the EFCC in connection with the arms purchase under the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
It was learnt that the EFCC’s task force, investigating the arms procurement scandal, invited Singh when his company’s name came up in an investigation into a transaction between the former NSA and Jabbama company, a Bureau De Change operator.
The operatives were said to have discovered that Stallion group paid N1.375bn to the firm, which later returned N100m of the funds to the conglomerate.
A top operative of the commission said Jabbama converted the money to $114,750,000 and handed them over to Yuguda.
The former Minister is facing prosecution at the Federal High Court Abuja for alleged fraud and money laundering.
It was further stated that Yuguda told EFCC interrogators that he collected the fund at the instance of the former NSA for political purposes.
The top operative said Singh was still being grilled by the operatives as of the time this story was filed by 9pm on Thursday.
The source added that the Stallion boss told his interrogators that he had a contract of $170m with the ONSA to supply some vehicles.
He was said to have claimed that the first batch of 50 vehicles were supplied in November, 2014, but said the payment was still outstanding.
It was learnt that the operatives were interrogating the Stallion boss for routing the seeming political donations through the NSA and not through political parties.
The operatives were said to be probing the possibility that the ‘donation’ by the firm could be an inducement for contracts award from the ONSA.
Efforts to get the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, for his comment on the reported arrest of Singh did not succeed as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has called for legislation that would put a time frame on the trial of corruption-related cases in the country.
Magu appealed to the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes to explore the possibility of using the strategy for the amendment to the provisions of the Electoral Act, to specify a time frame for the trial of corruption-related cases.
He said this provision would help to intensify the campaign against graft in the country, especially for the effective prosecution of such cases in courts.
Magu lamented that several corruption-related cases had lingered in court for years because of the absence of the requisite time frame.
The EFCC chairman said this during the visit of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, led by Senator Geoffrey Utazi, to the commission’s office in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “I will also want the committee to assist in fast-tracking the commission’s cases in court. Some of our cases have dragged on for so long due to no fault of ours.
“It may not be out of place if the (Senate) committee looks at the possibility of adapting provision of the Electoral Act, which specifies a time frame for determination of election petitions, to corruption matters.”
He said the commission needed more funds for its operation, furniture and equipment.
He urged the committee to utilise its vantage position to canvass support for the efforts of the commission to complete its permanent office in Abuja.
“The commission is rapidly expanding its operations with the opening of more offices. This will exert more pressure on available resources as provisions would have to be made for the effective running of these offices,” Magu added.
The committee members, who pledged support for the EFCC, later visited the permanent site of the commission in Abuja.
Source: The Punch