By Chuks Ehiim
A retired Naval officer said to be on the wanted list of the ant graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission[EFCC], Navy Captain Jerry Ogbonna[rtd[, has come out to debunk the story which has been trending in the print as well as social media for some days running.
In a press release made available to journalists in Abuja, the retired Naval officer denied ever stealing the sum of N45million as was alleged in the said story. According to him, “my attention has been drawn to various news circulating in the social and print media with my photograph above purporting that I am wanted by EFCC for stealing N45 million which was paid into my account in error by the Central Bank of Nigeria. For the avoidance of doubt I will state that there was no mistake”.
He added that “the payment to my account with Diamond Bank PLC in 2012 was credited for a contract I have with Ministry of Petroleum Resources for the lease of 3 helicopters from Tunisia for Department of Petroleum Resource. The helicopters were President Yar’duas idea to prevent DPR from hiring helicopters from the IOCs who they are supposed to police. The N45 million was part payment of the mobilization for the contract. The full mobilization is N110 million. So a total of N90 million has been paid by the ministry for the mobilization.
“However the CBN staff and some staff from Ministry of Petroleum wanted me to launder the money and share the money without supplying the helicopters but I refused. This is against my principle and what I stand for. Our nation will continue to crawl behind other nations of the world if we all continue to compromise. I am ready to fight whoever is behind these publications because I have God behind me and no human being can defeat me no matter how highly placed in this country. The money was used to take the officers of the DPR and the Ministry of Petroleum to visit Tunisia for inspection. The officials of Civil Aviation also traveled for inspection of the helicopters including officers of the Aerocontractors who were to operate the helicopters.
“ The officials and crew of the Tunisian company, Tunisiavia, visited Nigeria to inspect the facilities here in Nigeria where the helicopters will operate. The N45 million was used to finance all these inspections which are foreign exchange dominated. At the end of the successful inspection I was paid N45 million and a letter to the effect that we successfully completed the first phase of the contract was sent to Fidelity Bank PLC. In another development I reported some staff of DPR for asking me for bribe with evidence and EFCC and ICPC took no action”.
He said that “at the end of these inspections the Ministry of Petroleum Resource were supposed to pay N370 million for the helicopters to be ferried to Nigeria in accordance with the terms of the contract. At this stage they refused to make the payment and hence the current stalemate. This matter is in Federal High court and International court of arbitration for adjudication. I will prefer not to continue into more details until further notice.
“I am not on the run from EFCC because they know my office in Abuja and my residence. I have no need to run from anybody but no one can intimidate me. Rule of law must be followed at all times. The truth must prevail over lies. I sacrificed my life for 30 years in the military for this nation and cannot at this stage change my habits at 61”.