Panel Clears Oritsajefor, Dokubo Asari over $9.3m Arms Deal
A high powered special team put together to unravel the mystery behind alleged involvement of President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Ayo Oritsajefor and Alhaji Mujahideen Asari Dokubo in the botched $9.3 million arms deal in South Africa has cleared both men of any complicity in the matter.
A private aircraft belonging to Oritsajefor last month conveyed some unnamed persons and the cash to South Africa ostensibly to purchase arms from the black market to help bolster Nigeria’s fight against terrorists in parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
This led to widespread speculations in the media and sentiments being expressed by politicians on the issue in Nigeria.
The three individuals on board the jet were subsequently briefly detained in South-Africa while the cash was confiscated by that country’s financial authorities.
Weeks later, there were also insinuations that Niger Delta activist, Asari Dokubo was one of those who flew in the plane.
Consequently, a secret panel was set up by the federal government which has now cleared the CAN President, while also dismissing allegations that Dokubo was on the flight.
“A Special Team, comprising security agents, intelligence experts and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has investigated the $9.3m cash-for- arms deal and submitted its report to the Presidency.
“The committee confirmed that the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor had no connection with the transaction.
“It was true that the CAN President’s jet was used but we found out that it was without his knowledge. As at the time in question, the aircraft was on lease. And you may be aware that the lease trend is peculiar to private jet owners in the country.
“It is the view of the committee that Oritsejafor cannot be held liable for any shuttle made by a lease firm.
“As for the manifest of the plane, the committee also discovered that the Niger Delta activist, Mujaheedin Asari Dokubo was not among those on board the aircraft. There was no mention of Dokubo in the manifest presented during the investigation.”
The source expressed surprise that the matter was made public by South African authorities in the first place since an end user certificate duly signed by the Office National Security Adviser was presented by those who were on the plane.
“The committee’s findings revealed that the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) has the statutory and legitimate mandate to issue end-user certificate for such arms transactions. The imputations surrounding the role of the ONSA were unfounded, baseless and ill-motivated.
“The decision of South Africa to return $15million to Nigeria lent credence to the legality of the transaction. Certainly, Nigeria had no case to answer”, the source said.