The Managing Director of Stallion Group, Harprrie Singh has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly making a “questionable” N1.3bn payment to a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda.
The Nigerian conglomerate, owned by the Vaswani brothers, is among the major companies currently being quizzed by the EFCC as part of the ongoing investigation into the arms procurement scandal rocking the office of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
A story in the Premium Times quotes a source at the anti-graft agency as disclosing that the corporate organization’s name cropped up when investigators scrutinizing transactions carried out by the former NSA with Jabbama Company, a bureau de change operator, stumbled on evidence that Stallion Group also paid N1.375bn to the company, although N100m of the money was later returned, leaving a balance of N1.275billion.
From the investigation, it was gathered that the bureau de change operator converted the money into US$114,750,000 and handed same to the former minister of state for finance, who is already being prosecuted on multiple charges of fraud and money laundering.
Yuguda was said to have told EFCC interrogators that the N1.175bn received from the Stallion Group was at the instance of former NSA, Dasuki, for political purposes.
Explaining why his company paid out the huge sum, sources at the anti-graft agency disclosed that Mr. Singh, in the statement he volunteered to interrogators, claimed his company had a $170m contract with the ONSA to supply some vehicles and that, he had already supplied the first batch of 50 vehicles since November 2014 for which he was yet to be paid.
He was said to have additionally confessed that the money he gave to Yuguda was at the request of both the former NSA and Minister of State, to support their party.
The report noted that detectives at the EFCC are trying to unravel why a corporate organisation would route monetary donations for any political cause through the NSA, rather than hand such funds directly to the relevant political parties. The investigators are equally trying to understand whether the money was an inducement for a contract awarded to the company by the embattled