The Federal Government has said that the report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces between 2007 and 2015 submitted on Thursday to President Muhammadu Buhari did not cover the period when the Minister of Interior, General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau was Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
According to the government, what has been released so far is the report of the audit covering the period 2011 to 2015.
The current Minister of Interior, Lt.-General Dambazau was Chief of Army Staff between August 2008 and September 2010. He was preceded by Lt.-General Luka Yusuf who was COAS from June 2007 to August 2008.
The report submitted on Thursday indicted two ex-chiefs of Army Staff, Lt.-Generals Azubuike Ihejirika and Kenneth Minimah. Ihejirika was COAS between September 2010 and January 2014 while Minimah held the post from January 2014 till July 2015.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday morning, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that the committee that handled the probe would commence audit of procurement from 2007 to 2010 as soon as the necessary documents are available.
“When the documents regarding procurement from 2007 to 2010 are available and scrutinized, the committee will then 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,” he said.
The minister assured that the Federal Government’s anti-corruption fight is non-discriminatory and urged Nigerians to keep an open mind as events unfold.
He said, “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, the irregularities in the awards ensured that the military did not get value for money, with very serious consequences
President Buhari had approved the further investigation of those involved in defence equipment procurement from 2007 to 2015 following recommendation of the committee charged with the investigation which found a number of irregularities in the contract awards.
The Third Interim Report of the Committee was released on Thursday and among those listed 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.
Specifically those listed for further investigation include two former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. O.A. Ihejirika (retd) and Lt.-Gen. K.T.J. Minimah (retd); 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.
Also, 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.
According to AVM Jon Ode (retd) who is the chairman of the presidential committee, the total amounts spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49.
He said the committee found out 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 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 two 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,’’ he said.
According to him, 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.
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.”
He said, “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 N3,000,000,000.00 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,’’ he said.