President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered that further investigations be made into the Nigerian Army’s procurement of weaponry and other equipment from 2007 to 2015. A statement issued by Air Vice Marshal Jon Ode (ret.), who chaired the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defense Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces, disclosed that Mr. Buhari had accepted the committee’s recommendation to further investigate those involved in the procurements. The statement added that the committee had discovered numerous irregularities in the contract awards.
President Buhari’s order came after the committee submitted its third interim report today. But Worrisome in the approval of further investigation is the exclusion of Buhari’s interior minister, Lt. General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, the chief of Army Staff under whom some of the fraudulent procurement process was carried out within the period under review. Lt. General Dambazau was Chief of Army Staff between 2008 and 2010
Saharareporters learnt Dambazau was earlier indicted in the report submitted by the panel but elements within the Presidency worked hard to exonerate him from the list of former army officers indicted.
“Among those to be investigated are 18 serving and retired military personnel, 12 serving and retired public officials and 24 Chief Executive Officers of Companies involved in the procurement. All were either accounting officers or played key roles in the Nigerian Army procurement activities during the period under review,” said the statement by AVM Ode.
He disclosed that the subjects of further investigation include two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Anthony Ihejirika (ret.) and Lieutenant-General K.T.J. Minimah (ret.), former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Nurudeen Mohammed, and three former permanent secretaries in the Ministry of Defense, Bukar Goni Aji, Haruna Sanusi, and E.O. Oyemomi.
Other targets of the probe include chief executives of several firms, among them Colonel Olu Bamgbose (ret.) of Bamverde Limited, Amity Sade of Doiyatec Comms Limited and DYI Global Services, and Edward Churchill of Westgate Global Trust Limited.
The committee said the total amount spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49.
The committee’s latest interim report concluded that contracts awarded by the Ministry of Defense for the Nigerian Army between 2007 and 2015 were often awarded 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 found that the 2 companies collected N5,103,500,000.00, representing 86% 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 stated.
In another example, the committee reported that a contract worth N169,916,849.77 for the procurement of 53 armored vehicle spare parts, with a 90-day completion schedule, was yet to be completed five years after it was awarded.
In addition, the committee found that many of the contracts awarded directly by the Nigerian Army were characterized by “lack of due process, breach of extant procurement regulations and [were] tainted by corrupt practices.”
According to the committee, “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 Nigerian 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 certificates authenticated by the then Chief of Logistics. Also, [an] analysis of the various bank accounts of the two companies showed transfers to individuals related to [the] then Chief of Army Staff.”