Buhari receives report on arms contracts under Yar’Adua, Jonathan
•Panel uncovers N644bn extra-budgetary expenditure •Orders arrest of culprits
The Presidency yesterday said it had received an interim report of the investigative committee on arms procurement during the administrations of former Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
A statement by President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, made public the summary of the findings of the committee, which had past former top military chiefs as members.
Buhari had commissioned investigations into the purchase of arms in August, three months after he assumed office as President.
While the 13-man committee, which was inaugurated on August 31, 2015, is yet to complete its work, its interim report has unearthed several allegedly fraudulent financial transactions following which the president directed the relevant organisations to arrest and bring to book, all individuals who have been found complicit.
The committee wrote in its report: “As part of the findings, the committee has analysed interventions from some organisations that provided funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, Army Headquarters Naval Headquarters and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, both in local and foreign currencies.
“So far, the total extra-budgetary interventions articulated by the committee is N643, 817,955,885.18 (Six Hundred and Forty-three Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventeen million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Naira and Eighteen Kobo.)
“The foreign currency component is to the tune of $2,193,815,000.83 (Two Billion, One Hundred and Ninety-three million, Eight Hundred and Fifteen Thousand US Dollars and Eighty-three cents).
These amounts, according to the committee’s report, exclude grants from state governments and funds collected by the Department of State Security (DSS) and Police. It was observed that in spite of this huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defence procurement.”
The committee also observed that of the 513 contracts awarded at $8,356,525,184.32; N2, 189,265,724,404.55 and €54,000.00, fifty-three (53) were failed contracts amounting to $2,378,939,066.27 and N13, 729,342,329.87 respectively.
It was noted that the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the $1bn loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East.
The committee also said it discovered that payments to the tune of N3, 850,000,000.00 (Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) were made to a single company without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2, 219,188,609.50, $1,671,742,613.58 and €9,905,477.00” were awarded.
“ The contracts which were said to be for the purchase of four Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were not executed and the equipment were never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are they in its inventory.
“Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, 2 companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350, 000,000.00, $1,661,670,469.71 and €9,905,477.00 alone. This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded.”
Additionally, it was discovered that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was directed to transfer the sum of $132,050,486.97 and €9,905,473.55 to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for un-ascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions.”