In continuation of its onerous task of auditing arms and equipment purchased between 2007 and 2015, the 13-man Presidential Panel has begun a discreet tour of relevant military formations across the country.
It was gathered from highly placed military sources that the tour is aimed at undertaking physical verification of military hardware and equipment either bought or claimed to have been bought by senior retired and serving military officers.
One of the sources, who craved anonymity owing to the sensitive nature of the issue, said that the audit panel had visited one of the military formations in the South-West states.
According to the informed source, the physical assessment has so far revealed that some of the equipments are not in good condition.
It was gathered that members of the committee are guarding their activities jealously, even as security around them is said to be impenetrable, against the backdrop of the class of Nigerians being probed.
“You know that members of the arms audit panel who are very distinguished and upright Nigerians have started moving out to some affected military formations to have on the spot evaluation and assessment of equipment, which were bought or claimed to have been bought.“As a matter of fact, they have even visited some formations in the South-West and I think some of the things they saw have been cannibalised, not in good shape at all,” he said.
He explained that having been provided with documents and information regarding the purchase of arms and equipment between the period under review, the panel decided to move to the various formations where they are kept, for physical audit.
It was reported that the EFCC had traced about N17.5 billion to the banks’ accounts of wives of three air force chiefs.
The huge sums of money were kept in different bank accounts run by the wives of the affected officers.
It was also reported that huge amount of money had been traced to the accounts of children of some indicted serving and retired military officers.
Upon the submission of the panel’s second interim report and the recommendations therein, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to further investigate the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) and two former Chiefs of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal MD Umar and Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, respectively.Other serving and retired officers are Maj- Gen. E. R. Chioba (Rtd), AVM I. A. Balogun (Rtd), AVM A. G. Tsakr (Rtd), AVM A. G. Idowu (Rtd), AVM A. M. Mamu, AVM O. T. Oguntoyinbo, and AVM T. Omenyi. Also facing investigation are AVM J. B. Adigun, AVM R. A. Ojuawo, AVM J. A. Kayode-Beckley, Air Cdre S. A. Yushau (Rtd), Air Cdre A. O. Ogunjobi, Air Cdre G. M. D. Gwani, Air Cdre S. O. Makinde, Air Cdre A. Y. Lassa, Col N. Ashinze and Lt Col. M. S. Dasuki (Rtd).
A statement earlier issued by the Presidency had said that the audit panel discovered “nonspecification of procurement costs, absence of contract agreements, award of contracts beyond authorised thresholds, transfer of public funds for unidentified purposes and general non-adherence to provisions of the Public Procurement Act.”
It further noted that “the procurement processes were arbitrarily carried out and generally characterised by irregularities and fraud. In many cases, the procured items failed to meet the purposes they were procured for, especially the counter insurgency efforts in the North-East.”