Canada Considers Cancelling Saudi Arms Deal Over Kashoggi Murder

 

Canada is looking into ways to cancel a giant 2014 weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday, as criticism mounts over the kingdom’s role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Riyadh-led war in Yemen.

Trudeau had earlier said that it would be “extremely difficult” to withdraw from the contract, signed by the previous conservative administration, “without Canadians paying exorbitant penalties.”

But as evidence emerged of direct Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s murder on October 2, Canada in late November announced sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals linked to the killing.

“The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that’s why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that,” Trudeau said Sunday in an interview with CTV.

“We inherited actually a (Can)$15 billion contract signed by (former prime minister) Stephen Harper to export light-armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” he added.

The penalty for breaking the contract could exceed Can$1 billion, Trudeau said in an interview with CBC Radio in October.

Trudeau has been criticized by political opponents and Human Rights activists for failing to cancel the contract.

The historic Canadian arms deal 

London, Ontario-based manufacturer General Dynamic Land Systems Canada inked the deal in 2014 to supply 928 LAV 6 armoured personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia.

The deal, worth US$11.5 billion, was the largest arms deal in Canadian history.

But the contract was scaled back earlier this year, amid protests, to 742, dropping heavy assault versions equipped with cannons that activists and opposition politicians warned could be used against civilians and to help Riyadh wage war in Yemen.

Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote for The Washington Post and had been a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was lured to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, killed and dismembered, according to Turkish officials.

After lengthy denials, Saudi authorities admitted responsibility for the murder and said 21 people had been taken into custody. However, a CIA analysis leaked to the US media went further, pointing the finger at the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

In October, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the murder.

Relations between Canada and the Saudi kingdom have been in crisis in recent months.

Riyadh expelled Ottawa’s ambassador and severed all trade and investment ties in August to protest Canada’s rigorous demands that jailed human rights activists be released.

AFP

Dasuki’s Absence Stalls Trial Again

dasukiThe trial of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd) has stalled his trial at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja was stalled for the second time in two days after the Department of State Services failed to produce him in court.

The trial had on Tuesday been adjourned to today for the same reason.

The Department of State Security is trying the former National Security Adviser for the alleged diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms while he was NSA.

More to follow…

 

Dasuki’s Trial Stalled Over Absence In Court

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA ObjectsThe trial of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), for the alleged criminal diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms, has been stalled.

The trial was stalled following the failure of the Department of State Services to produce him in court.

As a result, the case has been adjourned till Wednesday, May 17.

Col. Dasuki was arrested on December 1, 2015, over the alleged diversion of funds meant for arms procurement.

The former NSA is facing multiple charges in different cases.

Details later…

READ ALSO: Court Fixes Date For Ruling On Protection Of Witnesses In Dasuki’s Trial

Dasuki’s Trial: Court Fixes Date For Ruling On Protection Of Witnesses

Again, Nigerian Government Seeks Secret Trial For Dasuki, ex-NSA ObjectsThe Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed June 15 to rule on the prosecution’s application in the case against the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (retd).

Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Thursday fixed the date to give his ruling on the application filed by the prosecution to protect their witnesses when giving evidence in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s action against Colonel Dasuki on the seven charges of unlawful possession of firearms and money laundering against him.

The prosecution applied to have their witnesses protected by giving evidence behind a screen, as they are security operatives and are at risk of harm.

They stated that one of their principal witnesses, who could no longer attend court, had suffered an accident resulting in broken limbs while the circumstances of the accident have yet to be uncovered.

The defence, however, argued that the prosecution previously applied for a similar order which was rejected, describing the current application as an abuse of process.

Arms Probe: “Courts Will Decide Dasuki’s Fate” – Presidency, APC Tell GEJ

Presidency, APC, Sambo Dasuki, Goodluck Jonathan, Arms ProbeThe Presidency says only a competent court can decide if former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) stole over two billion dollars meant for purchase or arms for the country.

In statement released on Tuesday, the presidency urged Mr. Jonathan to allow the court to decide the fate of his former NSA, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

Dasuki is accused of misappropriating monies intended for the procurement of equipment for the Nigerian military in its battle against the Boko Haram insurgency.

This follows comments by former president Goodluck Jonathan that his embattled former NSA could not have stolen about $2.2 billion as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Mr. Jonathan said this on Monday during a debate on youth entrepreneurship at the Oxford Union Society in England as he defended his administration’s policies, especially in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging North Eastern Nigeria.

Goodluck Jonathan
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan

“They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.2bn. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2bn.

“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 $2.2bn was stolen. So, where did we get the money to buy all those things?” Dr. Jonathan said at the Oxford Union.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, however, says Dr. Jonathan’s comments are sub-judicial since there is already an existing legal action against the former NSA over how the monies in question were spent.

“The matter is sub judice. Let the courts decide,” he said.

APC queries GEJ’s assertions

The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Timi Frank, also challenged the former president to help Mr. Dasuki prove his case in court since he does not believe such an amount was misappropriated.

timi-frank-apc-spokesman
APC Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Timi Frank

Mr. Frank said rather than make those claims, it would be more appropriate for Mr. Jonathan to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

“First, I wonder why it took former President Jonathan such a long time to speak out. Why now? If Colonel Dasuki is as clean as he wants us to believe, it would be nice if he can assist his former NSA to prove his case in court.

“The courts deal with evidence; let them prove their case,” he said.

The former NSA was arrested in December 1, 2015 by officers of the Department of State Services and has since been in detention for allegedly misappropriating about $2.2 billion.

dasuki
Sambo Dasuki, a retired colonel, is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars meant for arms purchase

The scandal dubbed Dasuki-gate has evolved to the prosecution of top government and military officials who allegedly benefited from the largesse.

Dasuki Could Not Have Stolen $2.2bn, Goodluck Jonathan Says

Goodluck Jonathan,on Dasuki arms dealNigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has said that it was impossible for his former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, to have stolen $2.2 billion as being accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Responding to questions after a lecture on Youth Entrepreneurship at the famous Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, former President Jonathan, said: “They said the National Security Adviser (Sambo Dasuki) stole $2.2 billion. 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?

“I agree with you that there are issues of corruption in Nigeria since 1960 till date. Yes there are still corruption issues but some of it were over-blown. I’d say exaggerated and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the National Security Adviser stole $2.2 billion. It is not just possible”.

Dr. Jonathan, however, pointed out that some of the corruption cases were still in court and would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts of the matter.

He said: “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 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 pointed out that allegations of corruption were not unique to his administration or the country.

“You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government … 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,” the former President stated.

After he was arrested in late 2015, Colonel  Dasuki  released a statement, dismissing the allegations brought against him by the current government and claiming he acted in ‘national interest’.

Mr Dasuki condemned what he called a “theatrical manner, the Presidency fed the public many allegations against him and other yet to be named former public officers”.

He claimed that the Presidency’s report about some “absurd findings, including extra-budgetary interventions; award of fictitious contracts; 53 failed contracts; payment for jobs without contractual agreements; non-execution of contracts for the purchase of four Alpha jets, bombs and ammunition”, were made to draw sympathy.

The former NSA is also facing trial for unlawful possession of firearms without license.

The crime, according to the Department of State Services (DSS), is punishable under Section 27(i)(a)(i) of the Firearms Act Cap F28 LFN 2004.

Army To Close Markets In Borno, Yobe

ArmyThe Nigerian Army is set to close some markets in Borno and Yobe states identified for engaging in illegal trade.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman said that the measure is to curtail illicit trading and smuggling in the northeast.

Also speaking at the news conference, the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Major General Nicholas Rogers added that the Nigerian Army is collaborating with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to ensure thorough search of vehicles and commuters and arrest anyone in possession of arms and ammunitions.

Jafaru Isa Returns Money Allegedly Collected From Dasuki

Jafaru IsaThere are indications that a leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Jafaru Isa, may have returned part of the money he allegedly collected from the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

Mr Dasuki is facing trial over the alleged diversion of state funds of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of weapons to tackle Boko Haram insurgency during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Isa was arrested last week in connection with the on-going investigation into the matter, in which prominent politicians in the country have been named to have received part of the money.

It was reported that the retired military officer, believed to be a close ally of the President, was released after he promised to return the remaining part of the money, claiming ignorance of the fact that the money was taken from government coffers.

Mr Isa is the first chieftain of the APC to be arrested by the EFCC since the beginning of a probe into the alleged diversion of $2.1 billion meant for arms purchase by officials of the immediate-past administration.

Lawyer Confirms Dasuki’s Re-Arrest  

dasukiA Senior Advocate of Nigeria and lawyer to the embattled former National Security Adviser, Mr Ahmed Raji, has confirmed the re-arrest of his client, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) shortly after he was released on bail from Kuje prisons.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent in Abuja, Mr Raji said that no reason was given by the security agents for the re-arrest of Colonel Dasuki who was granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja high court.

Colonel Sambo Dasuki is currently standing trial before different courts in Abuja over alleged criminal diversion of 2.1 billion dollars meant for the purchase of arms.

The DSS took custody of  Dasuki shortly after perfecting the third bail granted him by Justice Peter Affem after two other courts had done same.

The former NSA had been granted bail by a Federal High Court and an Abuja High Court each in the sum of 250 million naira.

Dasuki, Bafarawa Others Get Bail With Conditions From Another Court

dasukiThe Former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), a former Minister for State of Finance, Bashir Yuguda, a former Sokoto Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa ‎and three others have been granted bail with conditions.

Their bail was granted on Monday by another Federal Capital Territory High Court in the sum of 250 million Naira each and two sureties in like sum.

Ruling on the bail application on Monday Justice Peter Affem, ordered that ‎the sureties must be a retired or serving civil servant in a government parastatal.

One of the sureties must be resident of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who must also own landed property worth 250 million Naira.

The ‎court also ordered the accused persons to deposit their traveling documents with the Court Registrar and in the case where this condition applies in another court, the accused persons must get a letter from the Court Registrar of the said court indicating that the passport was in the custody of the court.

Justice Peter Affem ‎also ordered that in case of further investigation, the defendants could only appear at the anti-graft agency within the hours of 9:00am to 6:00pm local time.

‎The counsels representing the accused are also to recommend in writing that sureties are of good standing.

Justice Affem ordered the accused persons to be remanded in the prison pending when they meet their bail conditions.‎

Colonel Dasuki and five other accused persons are standing trial on a 22-count charge for alleged diversion of funds, misappropriation and breach of trust to the tune of 19. 4 billion Naira.

The charges were brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Looters Of Our Common Wealth Must Be Prosecuted – Falana

Femi-FalanaA Lagos State lawyer and civil right activist, Femi Falana, has thrown his weight behind the ongoing probe into the two billion dollars arms deal that has thrown up a lot of names.

Mr Falana, however, believes that the dragnet should be extended to the $180 million Halliburton scandal which first came to light under former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He said that the same political will that was being applied to the arms deal was needed to see the Halliburton case to a logical conclusion.

He said that the political will was missing since 2007.

Mr Falana was speaking on Monday on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

“The war against corruption that is ongoing deserves the encouragement of Nigerians, particularly the victims of corruption our country – soldiers who were denied access to arms needed to address Boko Haram menace, those who could not access hospitals, young people who could not get jobs and other victims of corruption.

“We have to own the war, if we want to see restitution for all those who have stolen our common wealth and reduced our people to poverty-stricken nut.

“When there was not EFCC or ICPC, official corruption was fought in Nigeria by the media,” he said.

He said that the situation is totally different now, as the media were being accused of contributing immensely to the culture of corruption and impunity in our country.

“No government can defeat the menace of corruption unless Nigerians are prepared to say: “This is our battle”.

The lawyer also stressed the need for Nigerians to restore their ethical value and national morality.

“If a man has been accused of rigging an election, you don’t celebrate him,” he stressed, insisting that the press has to be critical.

Arms Deal: Bafarawa Denies Involvement 

BafarawaThe former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, has denied involvement in the 2.1 billion dollar arms deal scandal, saying he did not receive any money from the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (Rtd)

A statement issued in Abuja by one of his aides, a former Special Adviser on Youths and Students Matters, during his term as Governor of Sokoto State, Mr Akibu Dalhatu, maintains that the former Governor had no deal with the former National Security Adviser.

Mr Dalhatu, who in the statement said he had visited Bafarawa at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), claimed that his boss was not arrested at home or anywhere else as has been reported in a section of the media.

The statement added that the former governor went to the EFCC to honour an invitation made to him by the agency while he was abroad.

He had informed them through a letter by his lawyers that he was abroad and would honour their invitation upon his return, which he did.