Former Chief of Staff to former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, and two former defence ministers, Alhaji Musa Kwankwaso and Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over their alleged involvement in the N35 billion contracts for procurement of arms, ECSN has learnt.
A former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Dr. Haruna Sanusi, and Major General Nguni, were also alleged to be involved in the defence contract and are being investigated by the agency.
The investigation showed that the contracts were for the supply of arms and ammunition, provision of logistics items and equipment to the Nigerian contingents in peace keeping missions.
The N35 billion was a loan bond obtained by the Ministry of Defence in June 2008 from the Debt Management Office (DMO) for provision of logistics for peace keeping missions.
The investigation which was confirmed by the Spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Tony Orilade, showed that some of the contracts were not completed while advance payments only were allegedly made.
At the centre of the contract saga is Mr. Donald Peterson, Managing Director of Richfield Technologies Limited, VTB Export & Import Limited, Freerose Limited and African Integrated Services Limited.
The investigation cited a statement made by Mr. Peterson “under caution” who said he had done many contracts for the Ministry of Defence which included the supply of Terrex Crane, truck recovery and communication equipment.
He said he was awarded contract for the supply of communication equipment for the sum of N1,020,287,357 for the supply of truck recovery vehicle (10 tonnes) at the sum of N50,000,000 shipped from China and delivered to the Nigerian Army Depot in Lagos; supply of Terrex at the sum N269,000,000.00 which was shipped from the United States to the Nigerian Navy in Lagos; and trainer stimulator awarded at the cost of N433,317,213.00.
He also handled the supply of five units of fuel trailers awarded at the cost of N85,000,000.00, shipped from China and supplied at the Nigerian Army Depot in Lagos as well as contract for the supply of machine refueller.
A source at the EFCC said the two contracts for the supply of arms and ammunition were awarded to his company, VTB Export at N533,000.000.00 and N778,000,000.00 respectively.
“He further explained that the two letters of credit opened were not utilised and he was not aware that the contracts were terminated as no letter was sent to him or his company in this regard.
“He maintained that he was only paid about N106,000,000.00 advance payment for one of the contracts”, the source quoted Peterson as saying in a statement he made at the EFCC.
He further stated that he made payments to some government officials for the contract awarded.
He maintained that he paid via cheques over N100,000,000 for the N1,020,000.00 communication contract.
He further alleged that the former chief of staff’s son also secured some contracts for arms and ammunition from the Nigerian Police Headquarters.
The contracts, he said, were nine in number all below N50,000,000 totaling N500,000,000.00.
The statement further affirmed that Mr. Peterson “paid the sum of $240,000 cash to one of the officials for facilitating the contracts.
He further said that he paid cash of N40,000.000.00 to a personal assistant to another official for facilitating the letter of credit for the supply of N533,000,000.00 and for the award of stimulation supplies to Lagos.
Peterson also said he was given three contracts for N120,000,000.00 stating that he paid N50 million each to the official who gave him the contract.
The contractor further claimed in the statement he made to EFCC that one of the officials told him “not to execute the contract but to pay him N120,000.000.00 which he paid in cash through a third party.
He further listed all the bank accounts through which payments were made and the phone numbers of those concerned.
The EFCC Spokesman, Tony Orilade, said investigation into the matter was ongoing.