■ As EFCC closes in on more Service Chiefs
From ADE ALADE, ABUJA
Over N5 billion has been traced to the bank account of a daughter of one of the recently retired Army Generals being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
A top official of the anti-graft agency told Saturday Sun that the discovery was made by a team of operatives in the Intelligence and Special Operations Section of the Commission, saddled with the responsibility of carrying out further investigation of those indicted in the Third Interim Report of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in July.
Those listed for further investigation include two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. O.A. Ihejirika (Rtd) and Lt.-Gen. K.T.J. Minimah (Rtd); former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed and three former Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Bukar Goni Aji, Mr. Haruna Sanusi and Mr. E.O, Oyemomi, among others.
In the process of investigating the tenures of the two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika and Lt. General Kenneth Minimah, the immediate past Chief of Accounts and Budget, CAB at the Army Headquarters in Abuja (Names withheld) who served the two Army Chiefs also came under scrutiny. Although the General bears Northern muslim names, he is from one of the biggest cities in the Southwest. His unknown Yoruba name is Iyanda.
The source further told Saturday Sun that following the discovery of suspicious cash deposits in an account in the name of the first daughter of the Army General in a new generation bank, a lien was placed on the account by the EFCC. The young lady who is under 30 recently got married (Names withheld). The account officer, a lady who manages the account was subsequently invited by the EFCC. She spilled during interrogation. Her confession led to the invitation of the General’s daughter towards the last week of August.
The source stated that she pleaded for more time to enable her attend to her infant child. The young nursing mother eventually turned up with her mother, baby, husband and lawyer about two weeks ago. And for two days, she faced interrogation though she was not detained because she is a nursing mother.
A summary of criminal infringements already established against her and her father borders on conspiracy and money laundering. “Details of the account show that cash deposits of about N10 million were consistently paid into the account sometimes five or six times a day. The money so far deposited into that account and another in London should well be over N5 billion”, the source added.
Investigators also discovered that even though the lady was still a student in the United Kingdom, hundreds of thousands of Pound Sterling were wired into the bank account of a London based firm’s bank account for her. The firm, Carrington Whyte Consulting with Flat 4, Grove End Gardens 33 Grove End Road NW8 9LL London, as its address, was curiously registered around June 2014 and shortly after, the funds began to hit its bank account from Nigeria in torrents.
Though the Army General’s daughter is currently on administrative bail, she is however, expected to report back for further interrogation next week. “We had to study her last statements, juxtapose them with our findings and draw up fresh questions for her and with which we confront her next week”, the source explained. It was further gathered that apart from procurement contracts fraud, the retired Chief of Accounts and Budget along with the two indicted COAS will have to explain how billions of excess funds in Army salary accounts were diverted, withdrawn in cash and shared when they are eventually confronted by investigators.
It was gathered that the next suspect to be taken in would be her father whose interrogation may in turn lead to the arrest or invitation of two Army Chiefs, Gen Ihejirika and his successor as COAS, Gen Minimah who were both recommended for further investigation by the Presidential probe panel.
The panel had in a statement on Thursday July 14 by AVM Jon Ode (Rtd), President of the Presidential Committee on the Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement in the Armed Forces (2007-2015) recommended a number of serving and retired military officers for further investigation.
Among those to be investigated are 18 serving and retired military personnel, 12 serving and retired public officials and 24 chief executive officers of companies involved in the procurement. According to the statement, all were either accounting officers or played key roles in the Nigerian Army procurement activities during the period under review.
Those listed for further investigation include two former Chiefs of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. O.A. Ihejirika (Rtd) and Lt.-Gen. K.T.J. Minimah (Rtd); former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs II, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed and three former Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Defence – Mr. Bukar Goni Aji, Mr. Haruna Sanusi and Mr. E.O, Oyemomi.
Also, the CEOs to be investigated include Col. Olu Bamgbose (Rtd) of Bamverde Ltd; Mr. Amity Sade of Dolyatec Comms Ltd and DYI Global Services and Mr. Edward Churchill of Westgate Global Trust Ltd.
According to the Committee, the total amount spent for procurement and operations within the period were N185,843,052,564.30 and $685,349,692.49.
It found that the Nigerian Army Contracts awarded by the Ministry of Defence for the period under review were often awarded without “significant input from end-user (Nigerian Army) and to vendors who lacked the necessary technical competence”
”As an example, 3 contracts with a total value of N5,940,000,000.00 were awarded to DYI Global Services Ltd and Doiyatec Comms Nig. Ltd (owned by the same individuals) for the procurement of military hardware including 20 units of KM-38 Twin Hull Boats and 6 Units of 4X4 ambulances fitted with radios. The committee found that the 2 companies collected N5,103,500,000.00, representing 86% of the total value of the 3 contracts worth N5,940,000,000.00, but only performed to the tune of N2,992,183,705.31,” the report said.
The committee also found that a contract worth N169,916,849.77 for the procurement of 53 Armoured Vehicles Spare Parts, with 90 days completion time, is yet to be completed five years after.
With respect to contracts awarded directly by the Nigerian Army, the Committee found that many of the contracts were characterized by “lack of due process, in breach of extant procurement regulations and tainted by corrupt practices.
“In this regard, a review of the procurement carried out by Chok Ventures Ltd and Integrated Equipment Services Ltd established that between March 2011 and December 2013, the 2 companies exclusively procured various types of Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles worth over N3,000,000,000.0 for the Nigerian Army without any competitive bidding.
”Though the committee found no credible evidence of delivery of the vehicles, the vendors were fully paid based on job completion certificate authenticated by the then Chief of Logistics. Also, analysis of the various bank accounts of the 2 companies showed transfers to individuals related to then Chief of Army Staff,” the report said.