The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited several arms dealers, a military chief and some other officials over an investigation of arms deals during the Jonathan administration.
According to reports, a $3 billion contract said to have been awarded by the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under the late General Andrew Owoye.
The arms dealers are being quizzed over the alleged inflation of N3billion contract for the supply of 20 units of K-38 patrol boats to the Nigerian Army by the disbanded Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety (PICOMMS).
The agency is also understood to have made a breakthrough in tracking how some of the $2billion arms votes and extra-budgetary funds were withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) based on orders from above.
Similarly, the commission has quizzed a former Chairman of the Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety (PICOMMS), Air Vice Marshal, Salihu Atawodi(rtd), for a N600m arms scam.
A top-level source familiar with the development said the arms dealers were invited “for interaction on the contracts given to them.” We noticed some discrepancies like the short supply of equipment, non-delivery and outright refusal to execute contracts.
“One of the areas we are looking into is how PICOMMS was allegedly mismanaged under AVM Atawodi. We have allegations of inflation of N3billion contract for the supply of 20 units of K-38 patrol boats to the Nigerian Army.
“There are issues about lack of due process in the award of the contract and non-delivery of the 20 units of K-38 patrol boats to the Nigerian Army. From records so far, the nation might have been short-changed to the tune of over N2billion out of the contract sum.
“In an instance, N620million was withdrawn from the contract sum, changed to dollars and shared by some officials of PICOMMS in one day. We will fish out the culprits.”
A top source in EFCC said: “Atawodi was arrested for alleged case of conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.
“He allegedly abused his position as chairman of presidential implementation committee on marine safety to defraud the Nigerian government to the tune of over N600m through dubious contract to procure military boats.
“He awarded the contract to one Hypertech Nigeria Limited. The contractor was fully paid, but the boats were never supplied. The contract award process violated the Procurement Act.
“AVM Atawodi, who has been on the radar of the anti- graft agency since 2013, was quizzed for several hours on Wednesday after he responded to the invitation extended to him.”
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the grilling of Atawodi by the commission.
“He is assisting ongoing investigation,” he added.
About two years ago, a businessman blew the lid open on N3billion contract for the supply of six units of K-38 patrol boats to the disbanded Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS).
The businessman alleged that one of the officials of PICOMSS converted N620million down payment for the contract into personal use.
The same PICOMSS was enmeshed in the theft of over 200m Euros.