Former National Security Adviser, Col Sabo Dasuki has challenged President Mohammadu Buhari to make his trial an open one rather than the secret trial the Federal Government has been clamouring. Dasuki, reacting to the President’s order for his arrest over allegedly siphoning money meant for arms purchase, said the order was not “only surprising but embarrassing”.
In a press statement released by the Special Adviser on Media to the President, Mr Femi Adesina last night, President Buhari ordered the arrest of Dasuki and other persons involved in the financial mismanagement that trailed the Procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date.
This directive came on the heels of the report of the 13 man committee set up by the Office of the National Security Adviser to audit the arms purchase. The committee on Tuesday opened a can of worms anchored on the fraudulent transactions that engulfed the arms purchase processes.
The report fingered Dasuki in the arms purchase sham that has ran into trillions of naira in respect to the findings of the committee. Although Adesina said in the release that the committee has yet to complete its work, it (committee) allegedly unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions. As part of the findings, the committee allegedly analyzed interventions from some organizations that provided funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, ArmyHeadquarters Naval Headquarters and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, both in local and foreign currencies.
The statement revealed that “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) while 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, the Committee further disclosed as contained in the statement, 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 extended expended to support defense 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 further 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 without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfillment 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 whenever 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’equipmenteInternationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America forun-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 indesperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition.
Adesina said: “Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided, stressing that the ridicule Nigeria has faced in the international community would have been avoided.
However, in a swift reaction to reports that President Buhari ordered his arrest, Dasuki said that it is not only surprising but embarrassing. Dasuki insisted the 13-man panel set up by Buhari to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date, never invited him (Dasuki) formally or informally to appear before it, wondering how it (the panel) came up with the interim report without hearing from him.
The ex-NSA 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. Even though 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,” he concluded