Nigerian soldiers. © Press Association Images
Nigerian soldiers. © Press Association Images

Nigerian president orders probe into 'fundamental breaches' of procurement law by the military

28 January 2016

The president of Nigeria has ordered an investigation into alleged corruption in military procurements.

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to carry out further investigations into the misconduct established against various retired and serving officers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and Nigerian Army, on the recommendation of a committee established to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the defence sector.

Buhari, who succeeded Goodluck Jonathan following a general election last year, has also directed the commission to investigate the roles of various officers and companies and their directors in "fundamental breaches" associated with procurements by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the NAF.

The breaches identified by the audit committee include non-specification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.

Garba Shehu, the president’s official spokesman, said the procurement processes were “arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud”. He noted that in many cases the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially counter insurgency efforts in the North East against Boko Haram.

In a statement Shehu highlighted several breaches identified by the committee including the procurement of two used Mi-24V helicopters instead of the recommended Mi-35M series, at a cost of $136.9m.

“However, it was confirmed that the helicopters were excessively priced and not operationally air worthy at the time of delivery,” said Shehu. “A brand new unit of such helicopters goes for about $30m. Furthermore, the helicopters were delivered without rotor blades and upgrade accessories.”

He also outlined criticism by the committee in the procurement of low level air defence radar, aircraft maintenance contracts and weapons and ammunition supply, as well as insider dealings by military officers in procurement activities by ONSA and the NAF.

“The officers were found to have misused or abused their offices for personal gains by influencing award of contracts to private companies in which they have substantial interests,” said Shehu.

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