President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the investigation into the Defence Equipment Procurement from 2007 to 2015, even as he ordered that Azubuike Ihejirika, the immediate past Chief of Army Staff and 53 others be probed over an alleged N381 billion fraud.
The approval followed the Third Interim Report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment, which was released on Thursday, July 14, 2016.
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.
Among those listed for further investigation include two former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. O.A. Ihejirika (Rtd) and Lt.-Gen. K.T.J. Minimah (Rtd); 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 Me. E.O, Oyemomi.
Also, the CEOs to be investigated include Col. Olu Bamgbose (Rtd) of Bamverde Ltd; Mr. Amity Sade of Dolyatec Comms Ltd and 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 were N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49.
It 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”.
”As an example, 3 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 6 Units of 4X4 Ambulances fitted with radios. The committee found that the 2 companies collected N5,103,500,000.00, representing 86% of the total value of the 3 contracts worth N5,940,000,000.00, but only performed to the tune of N2,992,183,705.31,” the report said.
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 5 years after.
With respect to contracts awarded directly by the Nigerian Army, the Committee found that many of the contracts were characterized by ”lack of due process, in breach of extant procurement regulations and tainted by corrupt practices.
”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 2 companies exclusively procured various types of Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles worth over N3,000,000,000.0 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 2 companies showed transfers to individuals related to then Chief of Army Staff,” the report stated.