Informant in the Nigeria Defence Industry are raising alarm over a massive fraud of $466.5 million about to be executed at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) with some arms dealers, using the United States’ refusal to grant export permit for military hardware to Nigeria as pretext.
According to TheNationOnline publication, a letter to the government aroused the suspicion.
It reported that an arms procurement company wrote that in view of the refusal of the US to give export licence to Nigeria, it had reached an agreement with NAF to substitute the initial order for Cobra AH-IV with alternate attack platform which it claimed, has greater fire power.
The letter detailed the alternate equipment to include six upgraded armed Puma Helicopters with the equivalent attack capabilities of the Cobra; four SU-25KM upgraded ground support/ attack aircraft;2 EU 25 UB for the purpose of qualifying and training NAF pilots for specific mission.
To power the pitch further, it offer additional incentive by proposing to build a suitable purpose built storage and hanger for the Puma and SU25 helicopters to accommodate the ground support requirements.
Same day, the company initiated a second correspondence with the NAF from its representative office at 1c Barnes High Street, London SW 13 9LB, United Kingdom titled “ Additional Critical Armament Requirement for NAF”. The company put the cummulative charges for the various equipment, including shipping at $466.5million.
Informants were shocked that in a government parastatal known for slow moving mails and deliberations, the NAF recommended the pitch by the military hardware supply company to the higher echelon of government within 16 days of submitting the proposal.
In its recommendation, NAF wrote: “The NAF hereby confirms the letters from the firm (name withheld) regarding platform amendment and additional armament requirement for the NAF. This arrangement became necessary because the United States of America failed to endorse the sale of Cobra AH-IV attack helicopter to Nigeria.
Accordingly, NAF has agreed that the said firm (name withheld) replace the Cobra helicopter with six upgraded armed Puma helicopters, four upgraded SU-25KM and two upgraded SU-25UB attack aircraft”.