Immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, said it was impossible for the National Security Adviser (NSA) during his administration, Sambo Dasuki, to have stolen $2.2 billion as claimed by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Dasuki, who has been in detention since December 1, 2015, was arrested by security agencies in an early morning raid on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari for the alleged misappropriation of $2.2 billion meant to purchase equipment for the Nigerian military in its battle against Islamist group, Boko Haram.
A Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja last Friday granted the application of the EFCC to consolidate the two separate cases against the former army Colonel.
A statement by the anti-graft commission said Mr. Dasuki would be re-arraigned on November 16.
Mr. Jonathan, who was speaking at the famous Oxford Union, Oxford United Kingdom, on the subject of promoting youth entrepreneurship, argued that it was “not just possible” for Mr. Dasuki to steal $2.2 billion after his administration procured several types of equipment for the country’s military.
“They said the National Security Adviser stole $2.2billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion. We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth and you are still saying 2.2 billion, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?” he asked while responding to a question about the alleged missing arms procurement fund now referred to a Dasukigate by the Nigerian media.
While admitting that corruption was an issue during his administration, the former president said that some of the allegations have been “exaggerated.”
“Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of it were blown, I’d say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible,” he said.
He, however, said that as some of the corruption cases are still in court, he would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts of the matter and that he doesn’t want to appear as challenging the incumbent government.
“One thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court, let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately, some judges’ (homes) were also invaded. There are so many things involved, and we have to follow up these matters to a conclusion before we know the fact.
“I don’t want to be seen as a former president challenging what the sitting government is doing so I have decided to keep quiet for the court to look into them,” he said.
He said that allegations of corruption were not unique to his administration.
He explained that governments had been overthrown in the past because they were accused of being corrupt only for the new administration itself be pushed out of power by another junta touting the anti-corruption mantra.
“You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government,” he said.
He further argued that corruption is a global problem but the perception of corruption is greater in Nigeria due to the Nigerian media obsession with reporting on corruption.
“I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria; there is corruption. If you look at corruption there is almost no country that is free, the degree varies, the perception varies.
“Transparency International talks about the way corruption is being perceived in different economies, why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived, it depends on the issue raised in the media every day,” he said.