15 July 2016
The Federal Government has debunked the insinuation that the report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces (2007-2015) was doctored for whatever reason.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said what was released on Thursday was the report of the audit covering the period 2011 to 2015, adding that the committee would begin the audit of procurement from 2007 to 2010 as soon as the necessary documents were available.
“When the documents regarding procurements from 2007 to 2010 are available and scrutinised, the committee will issue its report on that.
“The audit is being done in phases, and the report that was released on Thursday is the third of such,” the Minister said.
He assured that the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight was non-discriminatory, and called on Nigerians to keep an open mind as events unfolded.
“No one should attempt to distract from the seriousness of the issues involved in this audit of defence equipment procurement.
“It is important to note that even though the total amount spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and 685,349,692.49 dollars, the irregularities in the awards ensured that the military did not get value for money, with very serious consequences,” the minister said.
Based on the report, President Muhammadu Buhari approved fresh investigation into the awards of the contracts.
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.
Those listed for further investigation are two former Chiefs of Army Staff, retired Lt.-Gen. O.A. Ihejirika and retired Lt.-Gen. K.T.J. Minimah (Rtd); 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 are retired Col. Olu Bamgbose of Bamverde Ltd; Mr. Amity Sade of Doiyatec Communicationss Ltd. and DYI Global Services and Mr. Edward Churchill of Westgate Global Trust Ltd.
According to the committee, the total amount spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and 685,349,692.49 dollars.
It found that the Nigerian Army contracts awarded by the Ministry of Defence for the period under review 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 almost N6 billion were awarded to DYI Global Services Ltd and Doiyatec Communications 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 two companies collected N5.1 billion representing 86 per cent of the total value of the three contracts worth N5.94 billion, but only performed to the tune of N2.9 billion,’’ the report said.
The committee also found that a contract worth N170 million for the procurement of 53 Armoured Vehicles Spare Parts, with 90 days completion time, is yet to be completed five years after.
With respect to contracts awarded directly by the Nigerian Army, the committee found that many of the contracts 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 billion 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 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.