The Professor Yemi-Osinbajo-led panel investigating the recovered N13 billion has decided not to invite former president, Goodluck Jonathan, for questioning again for political reasons.
A raid carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an apartment in Ikoyi resulted in the recovery of $43.4m, N23m and £27,000.
Shortly after, the National Intelligence Agency laid claim to the monies saying it was for a covert security operation and that it was approved by former president, Jonathan.
President Muhammadu Buhari suspended the director-general of the NIA, Ayo Oke, and set up a three-man panel headed by the vice president to investigate the fund and report back after two weeks.
There was initial report that Jonathan would be invited by the panel considering the insistence of the suspended NIA DG that he approved the fund but according to The Punch, this plan has been shelved.
Oke had told Osinbajo that the money had come from the National Petroleum Investment Management Service on February 25, 2015, based on the instruction of Jonathan.
A source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said this was not the first time Jonathan’s name would be mentioned in corruption deals but for political reasons would not be invited.
“We have carried out several probes, including the $2.1bn arms scam involving the (former) service chiefs and the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki; we have probed the $1.3bn Malabu scam involving the former AGF, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), as well as dozens of other investigations.
“In all of these, the persons involved have all claimed to have received approval from Jonathan. But inviting or prosecuting a former President has a lot of implications.”
Another source aware of the workings of the panel said Jonathan would not be invited as his position as former president was a delicate one.
“I can tell you that it is most unlikely that the committee will question the former President.
“Firstly, a former President cannot be treated that way. We are not talking about criminal prosecution here. But in this kind of case, he will be treated with the respect he deserves.
“Secondly, that he approved the money in itself is not a crime. The concern of the committee will be about what the money was used for after approval.
“It is possible for security agencies to seek approval for money and state the purpose. It is another thing for them to spend the money on the purpose for which it was approved.”
The source however said that if the former president volunteered to provide information, it would be appreciated.