The Presidency seems to be playing the ostrich with the Investigations into the intrigues that played out in the appointment of Abubakar Rufai Ahmed as the substantive Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, and the attendant pilfering of the agency’ s funds.
There are very strong indications that the duo of Ambassador Babagana Kingibe and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari may have reached out to the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on National Safety and Intelligence, currently probing the matter in their bid to sway the report to cover up their alleged misdeeds.
Reports reaching us indicate that, there was a meeting between the chairman of the House Committee, Honorable Sani Jaji with Mamman Daura, Abba Kyari, and Kawu Samaila, Presidential Adviser to the House of Representatives on Friday, February 9th at about 9 pm at the Glass House, to discuss ways out of the quagmire.
It was at the said meeting that a deal was ostensibly struck with the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee, Sani Jaji, to shield the indicted persons at the meeting, while, the Chief of Staff should be excused from appearing with Ambassador Kingibe and members of his panel at the sitting last Tuesday.
At another front, the Chairman of the Presidential Review Panel, Ambassador Kingibe was mandated to cajole the committee into a closed-door interaction, and to dominate discussions and forcing the hands of the committee members into believing his own side of the story, to the effect that he did no wrong in sidelining the recommendations of his panel, nay in cajoling the President to pick Abubakar Rufai Ahmed as DG of NIA.
In a development reminiscent of the Farouk Lawal probe saga, a source privy to the scheming told us that immediately Jaji emerged from the meeting with Mamman Daura, Abba Kyari and Kawu Samaila, his body language changed, from the tough talking lawmaker to an obedient servant, a development which has made other members to suspect that the chairman’s cap was not properly searched after the meeting.
Ambassador Kingibe and Abba Kyari have never tried to conceal their disdain for the former Acting DG, Ambassador Mohammed Dauda, for refusing them access to the $44 million and the consequent exposition in his memo to the House Committee and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and have been working hard to discredit the claims of their culpability.
There is no doubt that, Kingibe and his kinsman Kyari may be working to either sway the committee report or completely kill it, having reached out to the House of Representatives Committee, currently investigating the crisis at the NIA.
Perhaps, eyes may have to shift to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to do justice in the unfolding drama, being the first body to which the former Acting DG, Mohammed Dauda was invited to give insight into the scam when it first came to limelight. As the Presidency is now looking for a scapegoat to sacrifice in the unfolding imbroglio.
This is even as investigations reveal that what the former Acting Director General of the NIA, Ambassador Mohammed Dauda stated in his memo to the House of Representatives Committee On National Safety and Intelligence, as well as the one submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC made it increasingly difficult to sweep the damning allegations against Kingibe, Kyari and Rufai under the carpet.
Reports reaching us from the Committee’s sitting on Tuesday reveal that, the committee members may not have been convinced with the defenses put up by Chairman of the Presidential Review Panel on the reorganization of the NIA, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe, and his protégée, Abubakar Rufai Ahmed, on their alleged roles in financial impropriety, and manipulating President Muhammadu Buhari into picking his kinsman for the NIA job.
A member of the committee who craved anonymity revealed that, Chairman of the Panel, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe went beyond trying to defray the allegations against him, by threatening to take further steps if the committee tries to rubbish the work of his panel, even as he allegedly made juicy offers to the members if they cooperate by watering down their findings.
According to him, all members of the committee, except it’s Chairman Honorable Sani Jaji, do not seem impressed with Kingibe’s offers. They particularly do not see the sense in why he went against the collective decision of the panel by setting aside their own recommendations, nay his roles in demanding for and collecting money under the guise of Presidential directives.
Kingibe forced the House Committee sitting into a closed door when it became apparent that that divisions amongst members of the Presidential Review Panel may come to the fore during the probe session, as most of them were said to been furious with Ambassador Kingibe, and pointedly accused him of pursuing a personal agenda to the detriment of the good job the panel did, and kept them in the dark all along.
Coming at a time the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, seems to be closing in on some members of the panel, especially the chairman, Ambassador Kingibe and secretary Rufai Ahmed, for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices, coupled with the general outcry that is trailing Rufai’s appointment, and the attendant pressures being mounted on President Buhari to reverse the action, there seems to be no end in sight to the twists in the NIA crisis.
According to the member of the committee, who craved anonymity, attempts by Chairman of the committee, Honorable Sani Jaji to protect the invitees and sweep certain issues under the carpet were punctured as members grilled Ambassador Kingibe and other members of his panel, over the allegations contained in the written memo by the former Acting DG, which indicted Ambassador Kingibe, Abba Kyari and Abubakar Rufai Ahmed.
One of the committee’s shocking finds, according to him, was the fact that, there seems to be no transparency in the panel’s conducts, as some of its members were oblivious of what transpired, including the demands and collection of money, so also the shielding of President Muhammadu Buhari from the panel’s recommendations, which led to the hasty choice of the wrong person for the job.
He revealed that the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Babagana Monguno, whose brief it is to supervise and coordinate the activities of security agencies in the country may have been completely shut out of the processes leading to Rufai’s appointment.
The NSA who appeared earlier before the House Committee reportedly confirmed his non participation in the processes leading to Rufai’s choice, as his duties were seemingly hijacked by the panel chairman and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, even as he also admitted that the vetting process fails to comply with the conventional procedures in security circles.
The committee members were also shocked when the panel chairman could not deny the allegations of being involved in name-dropping where they often hide behind Presidential directives to compel the former DG into giving them money for their private uses, including their hedonistic escapades.
In another development, the EFCC, currently investigating alleged irregularities in the handling of the finances of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, is poised to puncture the defenses put up before the House of Representatives Committee on National Safety and Intelligence by the duo of Kingibe and the Director General of the agency, Abubakar Rufai Ahmed, to the effect that they did not collect any money for personal reasons from the agency during their assignment.
The EFCC may invite Kingibe and his group next week as they launch their own investigation into the multi-million dollars scam at the NIA. This impression was given by a Director in the Commission while reacting to allegations that there may be attempts to cover up the issues raised in Ambassador Dauda’s memo to the EFCC.