Presidential Report Indicts Defence Ministry Over Misspent N35b Loan

A Presidential Committee report on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces from 2007 to 2015 has revealed that a N35bn loan given to the Ministry of Defence for the purchase of Contingent-Owned Equipment was misspent on equipment, which did not meet the United Nations’ standards, Punch reports.

The committee, in its Fourth Interim Report, said it observed several abnormalities in the Ministry of Defence’s administration and use of the N35bn loan.

The Fourth report, released on October 23, 2016, through the Office of the National Security Adviser, for submission to President Muhammadu Buhari, detailed how the Ministry of Defence and the Debt Management Office did not follow due process in the release and use of the N35bn loan.

It said that the lapses in the disbursement and administration of the N35bn should make the Federal Government call for a review of the “entire DMO loan portfolio with a view to remedying the observed lapses.”

President Buhari had in 2015 approved that the committee should investigate the former service chiefs, military officers and ministry officials who were allegedly involved in the irregularities uncovered in the contract awards and procurement process.

The committee had said it was investigating 18 retired and serving military personnel, 12 serving and retired public officials and 24 chief executive officers of companies involved in the procurement.

Among those the committee is investigating are two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lt Gen Onyeabo Ihejirika (retd.) and Lt Gen. Kenneth Minimah (retd.), former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, and three former Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Defence, Bukar Aji, Haruna Sanusi and E.O. Oyemomi.

The committee had in July 2016 released its Third Interim Report on the Audit of the Defence Equipment Procurement, which said that a total of N185bn and $685m were spent on procurement and operations between 2007 and 2015.

The Third Report stated that between 2007 and 2015, the committee found out that N71bn and $685m were spent on procurements for the Nigerian Army by the ministries of defence, finance, foreign affairs and environment.

Others mentioned in the Third Report were the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the National Security Adviser. The report said that some state governments, notably Adamawa, Kano and Yobe, as well as the ministries of finance and power also funded the army operations with N114bn during the eight years.
Punch.