A panel investigating Defence equipment procurement between 2007 and 2015 has uncovered massive fraud in Army contracts.
The Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement (CADEP), headed by Air Vice Marshal Jon Ode, which submitted its third interim report to President Muhamadu Buhari last week, recommended further investigations, which the president has approved.
To be investigated are two former Chiefs of Army Staff – Lt.-Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
Sixteen other retired and serving army officers are also to be probed, besides 12 serving and retired public officials and 24 Chief Executive Officers of companies involved in the procurement of equipment.
They are: former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (II), Dr Nurudeen Mohammed and three former permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Defence – Mr. Bukar Goni Aji, Mr. Haruna Sanusi and Mr. E.O, Oyemomi.
The CEOs to be investigated include Col. Olu Bamgbose (retd.) of Bamverde Ltd; Mr. Amity Sade of Doiyatec Comms Ltd and DYI Global Services and Mr. Edward Churchill of Westgate Global Trust Ltd.
A statement last night by the Committee gave the total amount spent on procurement and operations within the period as N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49.
The panel found that Army contracts were awarded by the Ministry of Defence without ‘’significant input from end-user (Nigerian Army) and to vendors who lacked the necessary technical competence.
‘’As an example, three contracts with a total value of N5,940,000,000.00 were awarded to DYI Global Services Ltd and Doiyatec Comms Nig. Ltd (owned by the same individuals) for the procurement of military hardware, including 20 units of KM-38 Twin Hull Boats and six units of 4X4 ambulances fitted with radios.
“The committee discovered that the two companies collected N5,103,500,000.00, representing 86 per cent of the total value of the three contracts worth N5,940,000,000.00, but only performed to the tune of N2,992,183,705.31,’’ the report said.
The committee also found that a contract worth N169,916,849.77 for the procurement of 53 armoured vehicles spare parts, with 90 days completion time, is yet to be completed five years after.
For contracts awarded directly by the Army, the Committee found out that many were characterised by ‘’lack of due process, in breach of extant procurement regulations and tainted by corrupt practices.
‘’In this regard, a review of the procurement carried out by Chok Ventures Ltd and Integrated Equipment Services Ltd established that between March 2011 and December 2013, the two companies exclusively procured various types of Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles worth over N3,000,000,000.0 for the Army without any competitive bidding.
‘’Though the committee found no credible evidence of delivery of the vehicles, the vendors were fully paid based on job completion certificate authenticated by the then Chief of Logistics. Also, analysis of the various bank accounts of the two companies showed transfers to individuals related to then Chief of Army Staff,’’ the report said.