Posted by News Express | 18 November 2015 | 2,829 times
President Muhammadu Buhari last night ordered the arrest of embattled immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, over alleged arms purchase fraud. Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) Femi Adesina disclosed this in a press statement issued in Abuja.
He said the order followed the receipt by the President of the interim report of the 13-man committee probing the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date. Adesina said that the committee found 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.”
Dasuki, who has had running battles with the Buhari administration, swiftly denied the allegation, saying that he was never at any time invited to appear before the committee.
Mr. Adesina’s statement reads: “On the authority of Mr President, a 13-man committee was set up by the Office of the National Security Adviser to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date.
“While the committee which was inaugurated on 31 August 2015 is yet to complete its work, its interim report has unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions.
“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 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. 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 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 Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N3,850,000,000.00) 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, 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 former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria 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.
“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. Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.
“Furthermore, the ridicule Nigeria has faced in the international community would have been avoided. It is worrisome and disappointing that those entrusted with the security of this great nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury, while innocent lives were wasted daily.
“In light of these findings, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the relevant organisations arrest and bring to book, all individuals who have been found complicit in these illegal and fraudulent acts.”
However, responding around midnight, Dasuki in a statement issued in Abuja vehemently denied ever receiving any formal or informal invitation to appear before an Investigative Panel on the Procurement of hardware and munitions in the armed forces.
He said: “I have never been invited formally or informally to appear before the panel. I am therefore not only surprised but embarrassed by seeming indictment by the panel purportedly operating from Office of the National Security Adviser that never contacted me.
“For the record I am proud to serve my nation with the best of intention and ensuring the recovery of more than 22 local government councils from Boko Haram terrorists.
“Because of the pride on how we tackled terrorism and defeated Boko Haram terrorists through our gallant troops and partners in the twilight of the previous administration, that is the reason I have insisted on open and public trial of my stewardship rather than secret trial in the court as being canvassed by my prosecutors.
“I wish Nigerians will go back and reflect on what we did with even little or no supports from some countries, we performed miracles before the emergence of this administration. I even thought the committee was to investigate procurement from 2007 to 2015. Yet only my name is always being mentioned even when some of the issues were before I came into the government.
“I leave Nigerians to judge.”
•Photo shows Sambo Daski.
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