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10 August 2018

$2.1b arms deal: EFCC arrests ex-DSS boss

After a five-hour search, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arrested a former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mr. Ita Ekpenyong.

He was quizzed by the anti-graft agency’s operatives and granted bail. He is expected back for further interrogation today.

There were indications that the arrest of the ex-DG was in connection with alleged N40billion linked to the agency in the twilight of the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

The EFCC is working on clues that the cash was part of the $2.1billion arms funds managed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The anti-graft agency was also acting on intelligence that a substantial part of the cash was diverted to personal use.

It was gathered that the EFCC had uncovered that about N17billion to N21billion in the coffers of DSS also could not be accounted for during the transition period between Ekpenyong and the sacked DG of DSS, Mr. Lawal Daura.

But detectives were yesterday able to recover the handover note which Ekpenyong gave to Daura containing some “startling revelations.”

It was learnt that the EFCC team of detectives yesterday arrived at Ekpenyong’s residence at 46, Justice Maman Nasir in Asokoro District of Abuja, at about 10am in three buses with about 20 policemen.

There was no resistance unlike in November 2017 when an arrest bid was foiled on the order of sacked DG Daura.

The detectives searched Ekpenyong’s home from 10am till about 3.20pm.

A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “When we got to Ekpenyong’s residence, we told the DSS operatives on guard our mission and they politely sought clearance from the agency’s headquarters.

“As soon as we got the clearance, our operatives met with Ekpenyong who cooperated with the EFCC’s team in searching his residence.

“Thereafter, we arrested Ekpenyong and took him to our headquarters at about 3.50pm for interrogation. He is still making statement to our team.”

The source added: “We were able to recover some documents including the Ekpenyomg’s handover note to Daura.

“The note is highly useful because of some revelations that will help our investigation.”

The source confirmed that the EFCC got the required order from a court to search and arrest Ekpenyong.

The warrant said in part: “You are hereby commanded by this state with proper assistance to enter the above-named residence and premises and there diligently search for the things aforesaid and if the same or any part thereof are found to bring the things so found and also the said person before this court to be dealt according to law.

“This warrant shall be executed between the hours of five o’ clock and eight o’clock at night and may also be executed at any hour during day or night.”

It was not immediately clear if Ekpenyong was detained or released later yesterday.

The EFCC surce said “At the moment, we have not met or interacted with Daura. We are also yet to invite him. I think some other agencies are currently handling Daura’s matter.


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