Everest Amaefule, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the probe of two former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
The two generals are among 54 persons to be investigated for their roles in the arms scandals that saw billions of dollars meant for the procurement of arms for the Nigerian military for the prosecution of the war against Boko Haram diverted to private pockets.
Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces, AVM Jon Ode (retd.), said this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
The order followed the approval of the recommendation of the committee charged with investigating the Defence Equipment Procurement from 2007 to 2015, for further investigation of those involved, by President Buhari, after the committee found a number of irregularities in the contract awards.
According to Ode, the approval followed the Third Interim Report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment, which was released on Thursday.
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, Ode said.
Others listed for probe included a 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 Chief Executive Officers to be investigated include Col. Olu Bamgbose (retd.) of Bamverde Limited; Mr. Amity Sade of Doiyatec Comms Nigeria Ltd.; 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 was N185, 843,052,564.30 and another $685,349,692.49.
The committee 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.”
The committee report said, “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 Nigeria Limited (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 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.
‘’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 N3bn 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, the analysis of the various bank accounts of the two companies showed transfers to individuals related to then Chief of Army Staff.”
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, had 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.