Nigeria investigates alleged corrupt arms procurement probe

20 April 2017

Nigeria’s parliament is investigating alleged corruption by a recently disbanded presidential panel charged with probing the procurement of arms and ammunition by successive governments.

A joint committee chaired by both Aminu Jaji of the Committee on National Security and Intelligence and Oluwole Oke of the Committee on Public Procurement has been established to conduct the investigation.

Officials close to the probe said the investigation would scrutinise arms procurements between 2012 and 2015. There has been a call for written memoranda and position papers from top government officials, according to News Africa

Those officially invited to make submissions include the chairman and members of the arms probe panel, the national security advisor, defence minister, finance minister, interior minister, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the auditor general.

The Presidential Arms Probe Panel, inaugurated by president Muhammadu Buhari at the outset of his administration in 2015, was tasked with probing the procurement of hardware and ammunitions in the armed forces from 2007 to 2015.

It was also to look into irregularities and make recommendations for streamlining the procurement process in the military. 

The panel submitted its first interim report in November 2015 and presented the second report in January 2016. 

During the investigation, some members of the arms probe panel were accused of receiving bribes from individuals and companies that were being investigated by the same panel, according to All Africa.

Some serving security officials also said the panel had accused groups and individuals via the media without them having the opportunity to defend themselves in court.

Before its disbandment last year, the panel had indicted several former government officials, serving and retired military personnel, individuals and companies for the mismanagement and diversion of funds meant for the procurement of arms for the war against the insurgency in the north east, according to This Day Live.   

The probe comes in the middle of another probe by the Nigerian government of the alleged theft of $2bn meant for procurement of arms for the military fight against the Boko Haram. 

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s military has announced it has destroyed 13 illegal refineries in the restive Niger Delta oil hub, used to process stolen crude from oil company pipelines.

Nigeria’s navy chief said that 181 illegal refineries were destroyed last year, 748 suspects were arrested and crude oil and diesel worth $1.3bn was confiscated, according to CNBC.

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