A mind boggling corruption which has the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki as its nucleus has been unearthed at the Defence sector of the country forcing President Muhammadu Buhari to order arrest of companies and individuals I nvolved.
President had August 31 ordered the Office of the National Security Adviser to inaugurate a 13 man committee to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and the entire Defence sector from 2007 to date.
Its findings again ridicule Nigeria in the international community with worrisome and disappointing revelations that those entrusted with the security of this nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury, while innocent lives were wasted daily.
This will definitely increase the worries of the embattled former NSA who is currently standing trial for corrupt practices while in office.
In the interim report submitted Tuesday to Presdient Buhari, several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions were discovered running into billions of Naira and dollars.
Owing to the increasing loss of lives that characterized the fight against insurgencies at the period covered by the probe, several financial interventions were available to the military to assist in the prosecution of the war.
“As part of the findings, the committee analyzed interventions from some organizations 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 Six Hundred and Forty Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Hundred Naira and Eighteen Kobo (N643,817,955,885.18)”.
“The foreign currency component is to the tune of Two Billion, One Hundred and Ninety Three Million, Eight Hundred and Fifteen Thousand US Dollars and Eighty Three Cents ($2,193,815,000.83)”.
“These amounts exclude grants from the State Governments and funds collected by the DSS and Police”.
Despite the this huge financial intervention available to the sector, the report noted that very little was expended to support defense procurement.
The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition.
“The committee also observed that of 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”.
Interestingly, 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 discovered that payments to the tune of N3.850 billion were made to a single company by the former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the FGN.
Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, the erstwhile NSA, Lt Col MS Dasuki (rtd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50, $1,671,742,613.58 and €9,905,477.00.
“The contracts which were said to be for the purchase of 4 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, two companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350 million, $1.662 billion and €9.9 million alone.
“This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded”, the report noted
“Additionally, it was discovered that the former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132 million, and €9. 91 million 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”.
Sambo Dasuki, a Sokoto prince was appointed June 2012 by former President Goodluck Jonathan to replace Andrew Azazi, former NSA.
Dasuki, a retired armoured colonel and one-time ADC of General Ibrahim Babagida was also a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing & Minting Company Limited.
He was retired from the army by the Abacha regime in a paranoid move to drain the military of what was then perceived as the Babangida influence.