Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sanusi Was Right: Ministry Of Police Affairs Benefited From CBN N20bn Funds


Premium Times conducted an investigation into the scandalous case of N19.7bn released by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the purchase of police equipment, and concluded that the Ministry of Police Affairs (MPA) benefited from CBN funds as claimed by suspended governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. According to Premium Times, the MPA deliberately misled the House of Representatives in simulating ignorance of a presidential directive mandating the CBN to provide N19.7bn for police equipment, and in denying receipt of the funds. The MPA permanent secretary, James Obiegbu, claimed the ministry’s non-involvement with the funds when the House committee on public account, chaired by Solomon Olamilekan, reviewed the disbursement of the money earlier this week.
Credit: Al Jazeera
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Credit: Al Jazeera
Two weeks ago Sanusi had revealed the details about the expenditures in a statement which was his response to government's allegation of financial recklessness against him.
The expenditure, made public two weeks ago by the suspended governor of CBN, Lamido Sanusi, was spent on financing the purchase of new helicopters and security equipment for the police.
Sanusi said that the funds were released on President Goodluck Jonathan’s instruction, a disclosure that reportedly sought to underscore how Jonathan personally authorised some of the spending the CBN’s boss would later be condemned for by the presidency.
President Goodluck Jonathan
However, at the House committee meeting on Tuesday the police denied knowledge of the funds, and the MPA, which supervises the police, distanced itself from the allocation.
The ministry, the police echelon, and the CBN, were all to appear before the committee.
The inspector general of police, Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by the an assistant inspector general, Ilesanmi Aguda, said the police knew nothing about the CBN disbursement and that the MPA would be better placed to respond to queries on the matter.
But the committee chairman quoted the MPA permanent secretary Obiegbu as saying the ministry had nothing to do with the CBN money.
"The permanent secretary approached me formally and told me that they don’t know anything about the money," Olamilekan said.
Premium Times says that according to the documents it gathered and reviewed, Obiegbu was merely deceiving the committee chairman, as the MPA clearly requested for, and took delivery of the CBN funds.
These papers are said to show how the MPA initiated a memo in 2010 asking for the CBN intervention, followed through with an application for contract award clearance from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and eventually awarded the contract for the purchases, having received approval from the president.
The ministry claimed it sought the intervention of the CBN because of the "enormous" cost of the contract.
The MPS said it had relied on three sources of funding: the 2010 budget, the CBN and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and contributions from the police reforms fund.
It is not clear, however, what was  the role of the NNPC and how much it paid to the ministry, as only the money from the CBN were reflected in the communication between the ministry and the president.

The communication in details
In the first letter dated September 17, 2010 and signed by the then minister, Adamu Waziri, the MPA told President Jonathan that the police needed more equipment to prepare for the 2011 elections and secure financial institutions. It added that the CBN was in a good stead to help out.
"The procurement of these critical equipment would greatly enhance the surveillance of the NPF on the financial institutions in addition to augmenting the requirements of the NPF for the conduct of the 2011 general elections," Waziri wrote.
The equipment included four Bell 412 armoured helicopters, 60 armoured patrol vans, 40,000 Motorola communication radios (walkie talkies), at a total cost of N19.66bn.
The letter was received in the State House on September 21, 2010.
President then requested a meeting with Waziri over the plan and on October 6 approved the allocation.
In a handwritten assent, President Jonathan drew the attention of the CBN governor, Sanusi, to his approval.
Next, the MPA contacted the BPP for a "certificate of no objection" for the contract to allow it award the supply job to its preferred firms.
The BPP responded on October 12, 2010, acknowledging that while the ministry’s request was lawful, it needed to show formally the CBN’s capacity to provide N19.7bn.
"There is need for the ministry to provide documentation to show that the CBN has actually provided funds for the procurement," the bureau said.
The CBN board of directors met on October 22 and approved that the funding request be made part of its 2010 and 2011 budgets.
It would take several months for the contract to pull through.
On June 10, the MPA officially awarded the contract for the supply of the helicopters to Messrs Pauliza Ltd at N4.9bn.
In the letter, signed by one Kyari Gubio on behalf of the minister, the MPA advised the company to liaise with one of the CBN deputy governors for payment and delivery of the items.
The first contract, at N4.9bn, was for two helicopters.
BPP described the mount of N9.9 for the four choppers worth N9.9bn as "rather high".
Other contracts for security equipment awarded by the ministry were 20,000 units of Motorola communication radios to Messrs Hades Meridian group at N3.4bn, another 20,000 units of the same radios to Messrs Reliance Telecommunication Limited at the same cost; 60 units of armoured patrol vans to Messrs Hadassa Investment Security Limited at N1.5bn, and anti-riot equipment by Messrs Armcom Limited at N1.5bn.
The purchases totalled N19.657 billion.
See the documents are attached below:

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