A former chief of army staff, Gen. Kenneth Minimah (retd), has refunded about N1.7 billion believed to be part of the $2.1 billion allegedly misappropriated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Nation reports.
The source gathered that Minimah, who was the army chief from January 2014 to July 2015, returned the money following an extensive investigation by the anti-graft agency on the report and recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement (CADEP).
During Minimah’s tenure, CADEP had uncovered “irregularities” in the procurement and award of contracts in the army and suspicious transactions in the accounts of the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have interrogated Gen. Minimah and he has started refunding some funds. So far, he has refunded about N1.7 billion in two tranches to the EFCC.
“So far, he has cooperated with us and we are hopeful that he will still make more refunds, in line with some contracts awarded by the Army. But we are likely to arraign another Chief of Army Staff and some ex-military officers in court soon following the conclusion of a comprehensive investigation on them. We are expecting relevant advice from our legal unit.”
About 42 units of Armoured Personnel Carrier(APC) which was uncovered by the panel and was rejected by Iraq were later sold to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram insurgents.
It added: “The Committee observed that one of the new equipment SEI procured for the Nigerian Army from Ukraine was BTR-4E APC. However, according to Ukraine’s State Enterprise Lviv Armour Repair Plant, the designers of the equipment, some of the products sold to Nigeria in 2014 were actually among 42 units designed for Iraq which subsequently rejected them due to poor performance rating.”
“The Nigerian Army did not also undertake the mandatory pre-shipment inspections provided for in the contract agreements. Instead, the NA deployed an Infantry officer, who lacked the technical knowledge to assess the capabilities and shortcomings of the equipment, to oversee the shipment of the items for the Nigerian Army from Ukraine.
“Additionally, the two weeks training availed the technicians and operators were inadequate for them to comprehend the technical workings of the newly introduced equipment.”
The committee noted that its interaction with field operators showed that most of the acquired equipment were aged or expired, lacked spares and prone to break down without immediate recovery equipment.
“Therefore, failure to carry out pre-shipment inspection and inadequate training resulted in the procurement of some unreliable equipment that reduced the capacity of the Nigerian Army in the North East Operations and resulted in the loss of lives and equipment,” it added.
The estate, allegedly valued at over N4 billion was confiscated on account of the ongoing probe of the ex-army chief over $2.1 billion arms deals.
The estate, which contains more than 30 duplexes built to taste, has been placed under Interim Asset Forfeiture, The Nation reports. The estate is said to be located between Jabi and Life Camp in Abuja and EFCC ‘Keep Off’ sign has already been posted on the estate.
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