The former National Security Adviser, Col Mohammed Sambo Dasuki(Rtd) has faulted the findings contained in the interim report of the 13-man-committee set up by the Office of the National Security Adviser to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date.
Col Dasuki described the interim report as theatrical and that the sole objective of the Presidency was to draw sympathy. He said: “In a theatrical manner, the Presidency fed the public with many allegations against my person and yet to be named former public officers. To draw sympathy, the presidency quoted some absurd findings including extra-budgetary interventions; award of fictitious contracts; 53 failed contracts; payment for jobs without contractual agreements; non-execution of contracts for the purchase of 4 Alpha jets, bombs and ammunition.
For undiscerning Nigerians, they may tend to assume that the allegations were true and pronounce the former National Security Adviser guilty as charged.”
He explained that the statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, who should know better as a former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and a witness to history, was nothing sort of propaganda to cast aspersions on him (Dasuki).
“To set the records straight, Nigerians should appreciate that the AVM Jon Ode-led panel did not invite the ex-NSA under any guise before arriving at its ambiguous findings. At least, fairness demands that the panel ought to hear from Dasuki instead of its recourse to hasty conclusions. If the panel had been more patient and painstaking, it would have been availed of all relevant documents on some of the jaundiced findings.
“As if acting a script, the Presidency alleged that the Panel accused Dasuki of awarding fictitious contracts between March 2012 and March 2015. Contrary to this claim, Dasuki was not the NSA in March 2012 and he could not have awarded any contract in whatever name. The ex-NSA was appointed by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on June 22, 2012.”
Dasuki claimed that all contracts and accruing payments were with the approval of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces. “Once the ex-President approved, the former NSA paid. So, there was due process for every purchase in line with regulations guiding arms procurement for the Armed Forces. And Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced for suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment. For sensitive sectors (military/security), there was no room for awarding fictitious contracts. The conclusions of the panel were presumptive, baseless and lacked diligence,” he said.
He insisted that there were no fictitious contracts; contract sums were not diverted and the relevant services in writing acknowledged delivery of equipment. For all procurements, the Nigerian Army, the Air Force and the Nigerian Navy have their contractors.
“While awaiting judicial process on these allegations, it is proper to make some references to show that the presidency was just desperate to hang some former public and military officers who served this nation at the risk of their lives.
“It is laughable for the panel to assume that 4 Alpha jets and 12 helicopters were undelivered. In a memo to the Office of the National Security Adviser(ONSA), referenced NAF/905/D/CAS of November 28, 2014, the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Adesola Amosu acknowledged the receipt of the 4x Alpha jets attack aircraft and the helicopters.
“On 10/21/14, the Chief of Air Staff also confirmed the receipt of F-7 N1 aircraft combination of 250kg bombs and accessories at $2,894,000 with the cost of freight at $1,200,000. The same Air Force confirmed getting 2xTri Shield 36DG Tactical radars.”
Dasuki claimed that contrary to the report, he did not award contracts to his company or proxies. “There was no contract awarded or equipment bought without approval from the then President and Commander-In-Chief. I am not a thief or treasury looter as being portrayed,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche