Says EFCC should summon ex-President
FORMER Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav has declared that former President Goodluck Jonathan owed the nation explanation over the role he played in the 2.1 billion US dollars arms fund scandal also known as Dasukigate.
In an interview with SATURDAY SUN, Tsav said that it was in Jonathan’s interest to speak out because everybody linked with the scandal has been mentioning his name as the one who authorised payments of various sums of money to them through the then National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.
“There is no way we can get to the root of the matter without hearing Jonathan’s side of the story because his name has become a recurring decimal in that scandal. But do we know whether what these people are saying against him is true or not? This is why silence is not golden for Jonathan at this period. He should speak out or EFCC should invite him,” he declared.
Tsav spoke further on this and more to TUNDE THOMAS. Below is an excerpt:
What is your reaction to the recent Panama Papers scandal exposing some prominent Nigerians and some other notable leaders across the world as keeping foreign accounts while still holding public office?
It is a big shame. It is a national embarrassment. What I expect President Muhammadu Buhari to do is to order EFCC and the ICPC to investigate those Nigerians whose names were on the Panama Papers. If it is discovered that they were truly running foreign accounts while holding public office, they should be put on trial.
I even thought that by now the anti-graft agencies would have started working on the case.
Look in other countries where their citizens were named on that papers, heads have started rolling.
In Iceland, the Prime Minister whose name was found on the list has already resigned. In the UK, the Prime Minister, David Cameron has also been giving some explanations denying any link to the Panama Papers, but here we are yet to take action.
For those people mentioned like Senate President Bukola Saraki, David Mark, James Ibori, and Aliko Dangote, some of them have denied any link with the Panama Papers. But that is not enough, security and anti-corruption agencies should conduct their own independent investigations.
If I also have my way, I would have recommended that the National Assembly make laws to deal with anybody indicted in the Panama Papers scandal.
It is shameful that in a nation where millions are hungry that some individuals could still be stashing money abroad. We need to get to the root of the matter, and ensure that culprits are fished out and punished.
How do you feel with those names mentioned in the Panama Papers, that’s Bukola Saraki, David Mark, Dangote and even T. B. Joshua?
We can’t take these names mentioned to be true until proper investigations are carried out. Then if they are found to be culpable, the Federal Government should invoke appropriate sanctions on them, but my fear is that most of those people that are supposed to deal with the situation of corruption are also neck deep in corruption. Again, I will not say that I’m shocked by those revelations in the Panama Papers, the source of wealth of some Nigerians are questionable.
But while dealing with the situation, I will like to appeal to President Buhari to ensure that men of integrity are involved in the investigations into the Panama Papers scandal.
Fears are being expressed that nothing will come out of the Panama Papers scandal since two other scandals before it, Haliburton and Siemens were swept under the carpet. Do you have such fears? were swept under the
In Nigeria, anything can happen, but with Buhari in charge now, I don’t think Panama Papers can be swept under the carpet.
Don’t forget again that when Siemens and Haliburton scandals broke, those in leadership then were mentioned, and you don’t expect these people to have courage to probe themselves.
I believe Buhari is a different man who has the will to take the bull by the horn. Corruption has reached such an alarming stage in Nigeria that I believe that Buhari should declare a state of emergency in the war against corruption.
He should expand the scope of operations of the anti-graft agencies. Above all, he should have the courage to move against those corrupt elements dragging Nigeria down no matter how highly placed they are.
At 70 plus, Buhari should fear nobody again. He, who he should fear now is Almighty God and his conscience.
It should no longer be business as usual in Nigeria – corruption has wreaked a lot of havoc on Nigeria, and those responsible should be brought to book. Nigerians voted for Buhari because they believe he is capable of fighting corruption, he should not disappoint Nigerians.
Why should it be difficult to put a big man that steal billions of naira on trial when it is easy to jail a poor man that steal goat or chicken? Where is justice in all these? Nigeria should not be turned into an Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others.
I was recently at Oturkpo Prison in Benue and I met a man that was jailed for three years for stealing a motorcycle, yet a big man that steals billions of naira is walking the street free.
These are some of the issues Buhari should address. There should be no two systems of justice, one for the poor, and another for the rich. We are all equal before the law.
The whole world is watching us on how we are going to handle the Panama Papers scandal – but I’m optimistic that with Buhari in charge, Panama Papers scandal will not go the way of Haliburton and Siemens.
What is your assessment of the anti-corruption war so far under Buhari’s administration?
I believe the war is on course, and the campaign is yielding results. Look at the loots being recovered and revelations being made, I believe the administration is making progress in the war against corruption.
Although nobody has been convicted but a lot of money has been recovered and I also strongly believe that he will have convictions before the end of the year.
If former President Goodluck Jonathan had done half of what Buhari is doing regarding corruption, Nigeria would not have been in this situation. Jonathan failed to fight corruption, and here we are today.
On the issue of former President Jonathan you just mentioned, opinions are divided as to whether he should be questioned or invited by anti-graft agencies as everybody linked to the arms scandal otherwise known as Dasukigate has been mentioning his name as the one that ordered that Dasuki should give them money, even Dasuki himself has claimed that whatever he did had the approval of Jonathan, what is your position on this?
It is very unfortunate that we often trivialise serious national issues. It is sad that we bring sentiments into issues that affects our collective well being. Why should Jonathan be untouchable? People tend to forget that whosoever offer himself for service should be ready to be accountable. Accountability is part of service.
In other countries of the world, former presidents have been tried and jailed for corruption if they are found guilty. So why should Nigeria be an exception?
There is no way EFCC can have it easy resolving the Dasukigate scandal without hearing Jonathan’s because nearly everybody involved mentioned his name.
We need to hear from Jonathan himself what happened. Jonathan has questions to answer. He is not untouchable. He is not above the law. If Jonathan’s side of the story is not heard, it will be difficult to try those people involved in Dasukigate scandal.
EFCC should invite Jonathan – however, if they want to respect him, they can go to his village in Otuoke to speak with him. However, if he is indicted, he should face the music. He will not be the first former president to be tried and jailed for corruption. If it can happen in other clime, why not in Nigeria?
Some have referred to the so-called gentlemen pact or agreement allegedly reached between Buhari and Jonathan ….?
(cuts in) That is rubbish. I don’t believe in that. So, if Jonathan’s hands are not clean, or he is discovered to be corrupt, he should be allowed to go free.
That’s the problem with Nigeria, it seems we have two systems of justice, one for the rich, and another one for the poor. But we can’t make progress as a nation if we continue that way. It will be difficult to attain the desired greatness if we continue that way.
How would you react to the allegation that the war against corruption is one-sided, that it is tilted against PDP?
I don’t believe that. I’m not a politician and I’m apolitical, but from what I have seen so far, it is those people who held public offices that are being called to give account or render account of their stewardship. For 16 years, it was PDP and its members that were holding most of these positions, therefore it is natural for EFCC to invite them for questioning. The last three former ministers of aviation, Stella Oduah, Osita Chidoka and Samuel Ortom who is currently the governor of Benue State.
This issue should not be swept under the carpet – N300 billion is a big sum of money – it should be recovered while those who looted it should be brought to book.