The United States Government has arrested and charged a man, Ara Dolarian, allegedly involved in illegal arms deal with the Administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The man, who is said to live in Bulgaria, was accused of attempting to broker an $8.5 million transfer of bombs, rockets, military-grade firearms and aircraft-mounted cannons from Eastern Europe and South Africa to the Government of Nigeria between 2013 and 2014.
Jonathan left the presidency in 2015 when his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, was swept out of power by the All Progressives Congress, with the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, as presidential candidate.
After his exit from power, his National Security adviser, retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, has been in detention over allegation of involvement in deals that did not fall through for the purchase of military equipment worth $2.1 billion.
The Buhari Administration is alleging that the money was simply shared as the Military did not get the hardware for fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.
Dolarian, who was arrested on May 15, 2019 in Fresno, California, United States of America, was accused of brokering the sale of arms and ammunitions to the Nigerian Government without acquiring the compulsory US Department of Commerce and Investment licenses.
This was announced by the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of California on Monday.
Dolarian, 58, is also charged with conspiracy and money laundering.
He was said to have received money from Nigeria for the purpose of selling arms and ammunitions to the Government though the US Department of State had not given his company the compulsory international arms deal brokering licenses for such deals.
He was said to have received $8.3 million from Societe D’Equipments Internationaux, a French arms brokering company acting on behalf of Nigeria.
The money was said to have come from Dasuki’s office through a purported Hong Kong-based furniture company.
The charge has it that the money was routed to several shell accounts held by Dolarian and his associates and were immediately used by the arms dealer to pay off his federal and state tax debts and buy a sports utility vehicle.
In February 2015, the United States Government seized over $6 million that remained in Dolarian’s accounts.
According to the charge, Dolarian faces 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if he is convicted of unlicensed arms deals.
He could also receive five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy, and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 for money laundering, the indictment says.