The All Progressives Congress (APC) has slammed the PDP-led Federal Government for its insulting and disingenuous explanation aimed at deceiving Nigerians over the US$9.3 million cash-for-arms deal that went awry in South Africa, saying everything about the deal is shady.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the deal violates the foreign currency laws of Nigeria and South Africa, violates Nigeria’s Money Laundering law as well as the Public Procurement Act and makes a mess of the Federal Government’s cashless policy.
In addition, it said, all the circumstances surrounding the transaction were umbrageous, including the fact that the funds involved, though in cash, were neither declared before departure in Nigeria nor declared on arrival in South Africa.
”Based on these shady circumstances, one can safely conclude that the arms to be procured, if at all, were not meant for any Boko Haram fight as claimed by the government but perhaps a ploy to stockpile arms for the private militia of the PDP ahead of next year’s general elections.
”As we said in our earlier statements on this issue, the office of the NSA cannot and does not procure arms for the armed services. These services procure their own weapons. Therefore, it baffles that the office of the NSA issued the end-user certificate for the transactions. This is a shady deal,” APC said.
The party said in order to buttress its assertion that the whole deal is shady, there are questions that the Federal Government has bluntly refused to answer in connection with the ill-fated deal, including why a private plane was used for a supposedly-official deal when there are over 10 aircraft in the Presidential Fleet.
Nigerians are also eager to know why the money for the purchase of the arms was not transferred to the country’s Embassy in South Africa for onward transfer to the contractor, if indeed a contractor was used as claimed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or the money transferred directly to the contractor, and why the Nigerian government chose to deal with an arms contractor with questionable registration in South Africa.
”If indeed the transaction was clean and official, which representatives of the office of the NSA and the Chief of Defence Staff were on the dollar-ferrying plane? Who indeed was the arms meant for? And perhaps the most important information of all: Who and who were on the plane?,” it said.
APC said Nigerians are more interested in who was on the plane rather than who was not on it, hence the government should stop hiding behind ‘national security’ and come out to identify those on the plane.
The party said irrespective of the feverish moves by the Federal Government, using less-than-sincere officials, to spin the whole shady deal and make it look clean and official, the truth is that even terrorists could not have been engaged in a shadier and more crooked deal to obtain weapons.
Activist Commends Zuma
Nigerian activist Timi Frank has written to commend the South African President Jacob Zuma.In a statement distributed Tuesday Frank said “We want to use this medium to express our appreciation His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa and his Government for the recent seizure of $9.3million and $5.7million that was illegally brought into your country by the Federal Government of Nigeria supposedly for the purchase of arms and ammunition.
“We want to thank you for a job well done in helping to checkmate this apparent act of corruption through questionable transactions emanating from Nigeria at this time.
“Our hope is that the United States, Britain, France, China, Japan, Dubai and other African Governments would emulate South Africa in helping to curb corruption in Nigeria especially by intercepting all questionable transactions and proceeds of corruption from Nigeria.
“We are not unmindful about the fusillade of criticisms that have trailed this patriotic action of yours to have impounded the money until satisfactory explanations are tendered by the Nigerian Government who have claimed ownership of the money. But we want to urge you not to relent in your efforts to help fight corruption in Nigeria despite the scathing criticisms, name calling and fierce intimidation.
“We also want to use this medium to tell the Nigerian Government to stop defending the indefensible. They should own up to reality now that the cat is out of the bag and devise means to remedy the image of the country that has taken undue bashing as a result of this diplomatic fiasco.
“We believe that it is more beneficial to use the time and efforts now being deployed by Nigerian government officials in blaming the South African authorities toidentify and bring those responsible for this corrupt and embarrassing act to justice.
“We hold that the South African authorities have not done anything wrong as they are only being strict against corruption in and outside their national boundaries, that is why we are calling on other nations to emulate South Africa.
“We also wish to call on President Goodluck Jonathan and his government to be fair to Nigerians. Mr. President is not unaware that corruption is the order of the day in his government today and that urgent and drastic measures are needed to curtail the corruption in Nigeria. Let’s stop with the conspiracy theories, let’s stop defending corruption.
“This recent event shows that the South African Government does not condone or defend corruption like the Nigerian Government does. Today, South Africa agencies are investigating their own president, a similar action in Nigeria would be regarded as anathema.
“Nigerians know the truth about what is happening. We should stop hiding under insurgency to loot public funds that ought to be channeled to developmental purposes, instead let’s thank the South African Government. Let’s cut our penchant for diverting public funds.
“We believe that these kind of illegal transactions have been going on unknown to Nigerians. But for this South African episode, Nigerians would not have known what this administration is doing with tax payer’s money.