Arms Deal: Civil Society Faults Probe Panel Membership | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Arms Deal: Civil Society Faults Probe Panel Membership

Monarch Decries Govt Huge Expenditure On Arms, Ammunition
Posted: Jul 20, 2016 at 6:05 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Ejikeme Omenazu

Lagos – A civil society organisation, the Freedom of Information Advocates Nigeria, has picked holes on membership of the Presidential Investigative Panel (PIP) on the Arms Procurement Deal which recently submitted an interim report on the alleged fraud still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the organisation’s interim forensic analysis dated July 17, 2016, made available to Independent on Tuesday, it queried the rationale behind the appointment of some of the panel members, who it strongly felt should have been distanced from the process as they were too close to the officers being investigated and as such could not come out with impartial decisions.

The panel members who the organisation felt should have nothing to do with the body because of the positions they occupied and relationship with the officials being investigated are Air Vice Marshal (AVM) John Odey, Chairman of the panel, General Suleiman Labaran and Brig Gen Nyama.

The group’s forensic analysis, issued by Mrs. Sharon Adoli-Lawrence, the Acting Executive Director from the organisation’s office, 39  Grove Road, Cockfosters, London, EN4 9DJ, revealed that Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Odey, the PIP Chairman was the Special Adviser (SA) to the then Minister of Defence, Major Gen Gusau (rtd) between 2014 and  2015.

The group alleged that Odey’s role was to superintend and advise Gusau on issues relating to arms procurement and other related matters, and as such it was not prudent for him (Odey) to sit in judgment over a matter in which he was involved.

On Labaran, the body stated that as former Director General, Defence Industries Corporation Of Nigeria (DICON), between 2009-2012, “is currently enmeshed in a N3.6 billion contract scandal for the production of AK47 bullets which was 100% paid for but only executed up to 30%.

“As a result, the Nigerian military continues to suffer casualties fighting Boko Haram. The General has no business on that panel. He is tainted.”

As for Nyama, former the Procurement Director between 2007-2011, the body alleged that he participated in the award of the arms contract, and as such, “he should at best be a witness not an investigator.”

The Freedom of Information Advocates Nigeria in its analysis further observed that “90% of N186 billion arms deal plus the US dollar counterpart was disbursed by the Ministry of Defence and National Security Adviser’s Office without input from the end users (army, navy and air force).

The group also alleged that “Major General Gusau (rtd), Permanent Secretary Aliyu and others superintended over the arms procurement deal in the Ministry of Defence, NSA’s office, etc, within the period 2007-2015,” and wondered why they were not mentioned in the PIP report.

Also surprising to the group was the case of former Minister Murtala Yar’Adua, who it said was in charge of the Ministry of Defence for the period in question and also superintended over the mismanaged N35 billion peace-keeping vote, adding, “We wonder why this supervising minister hasn’t been invited for interrogation.”

Continuing, the analysis further stated: “We also discovered that huge amount of money in dollars was paid to a Nigerian citizen with links to Niger Republic whose identity was never revealed in the investigative report. Who is this Nigerian? The panel should unveil the identity of this person in spirit of transparency.

“The report did not specify the amount allegedly misappropriated by each ministry/agency with dates indicating purpose and level of performance. The funds were all lumped together misleading the general public.

“Each ministry/agency ought to have given account of all funds accrued to them within the period under investigation.”

In conclusion, the Freedom of Information Advocates Nigeria maintained that the group aligned with the Nigerian government’s anti-corruption campaign, but it added, however, that Nigerians expected that it must be holistic, transparent and inclusive.

However, Igbo think tank, Aka Ikenga, on Tuesday said while it welcomes the probe of former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Azubuike Ihejirika, it will not accept selective probe.

President of the group, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, in a chat with Independent wondered why the name of Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, who served as Chief of Army Staff from 2008 to 2010 is missing on the list.

“If they probe all the past service chiefs, then he cannot escape. But our observation is that those who were there before him we cannot find their names among those to be probed. Why is Dambazzau’s name missing in the list of those to be probed?”



Comments (1)

  • Jul 20, 2016 at 6:29 am Uhuakpu

    Nigeria style

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