Nigeria’s most consistent human right activist alive, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has given the EFCC 13 grounds to prosecute the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, and “her agents” for gross misconduct in the purchase of two armoured cars at a “staggering” N255m.
In a letter dated November 2, 2013, to EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, Falana gave the commission up till November 8 to make available the investigation report on the matter.
He said facts and circumstances of the “illegal transaction” had established, among others, that “there was no appropriation for the sum of N255m for the acquisition of armoured cars in the Appropriation Act, 2013.”
elying on the Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of Dogogo v EFCC (2013), the lawyer threatened to sue the EFCC if it failed to carry out its “statutory duty”.
He accused the House of Reps committee before whom Oduah appeared on October 31, of deliberately not asking her the relevant questions on the “criminal enterprise”.
He also said the minister “exceeded her approval limit as only the Federal Executive Council can approve any transaction of N100m and above; and the transaction did not comply with any of the provisions of the Public Procurement Act.”
Other grounds canvassed by Falana include, “The prices of the two cars were inflated by the auto company in connivance with the aviation minister and the management of the NCAA.
“The loan of N643 million sourced from the First Bank Plc for the purchase of operational vehicles for the NCAA was not approved by the National Assembly.
“The repayment of the loan in 36 months by the NCAA is tantamount to contract splitting in contravention of the Financial Guidelines of the Federal Government.
“That the Aviation Minister admitted her involvement in the extra budgetary purchase of the cars when she gave illegal approval before directing the NCAA officials to “do the needful”!
“The Media Assistant to the Aviation Minister who claimed that the armoured cars were purchased for the “safety” of his boss has not denied the official statement.
“The Ministry of Aviation conspired with the auto company to evade the payment of appropriate duties on the armoured cars to the coffers of the Federal Governmen as they obtained duty waiver by false pretences from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“The First Bank Plc entered into an illegal loan agreement with the NCAA to finance the illegal transaction from the internally generated revenue of the NCAA. Under the law loans can only be approved by the legislative arm of government fo fund capital projects and not for the purchase of cars.
He therefore asked the anti-graft agency to hasten to try the minister and her agents “for gross economic and financial crimes as they wilfully violated the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the Public Procurement Act as well as the relevant Circulars and Financial Guidelines of the Federal Government.”
He threatened to apply for an order of mandamus to compel EFCC “to carry out your statutory duty” if it failed to acceded to his request.