Former Chairman, Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security, Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi, has denied any link with the controversial $2.1 billion arms purchase deal for which former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), is being detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Atawodi, who spoke through his counsel, Mr. Wahab Olatoye, in Abuja on Thursday, said he never worked under Dasuki’s office and so he had nothing to do with the money which is alleged to have been mismanaged.
The Street Journal reports that Atawodi’s reaction was informed by the usage of his photograph in some national dailies along with those already indicted by the Presidential Committee that probed the alleged arms purchase deal.
Warning that he should not be linked with any negative issue he knew nothing about while in and outside office, he noted that it was mischievous, embarrassing and unwarranted for anybody or group to have dragged his client into the alleged scandalous arms deal, adding that he had served the nation for years without any blemish record.
According to him, a baseless and frivolous petition was written against him in 2012 while he served as the chairman of PICOMMS under the late NSA, Major General Owoye Azazi, and after a thorough probe, the petition was found worthless and thrown out by the investigating body.
He said that he was never indicted by the EFCC, ICPC or any other investigative panel and wondered why he could be linked to an issue in which he had not in any way participated or involved.
“It is true that Atawodi was investigated based on a petition written by one Rabiu Hassan, Managing Director of Hypertech Limited, over the purchase of K-38 Patrol boats for the Nigerian Army and it is equally true that at the end of the probe, no shred of evidence could be used to link or establish any fraudulent activity against the retired air chief.
“As I am talking to you EFCC and ICPC have not got anything against him and as such, it would be grossly unfair for anybody or group to link him with the monumental $2.1 billion arms purchase alleged fraud”, Olatoye said.
He stressed that he would have sued the petitioner for attempting to malign his reputation but that the option was dropped when the petitioner suddenly withdrew the petition.
He noted that the resuscitation of the already investigated petition may have come up because of his intention to go into politics to be able to serve Nigerians, to serve his people in Kogi state.