Questions are currently being raised within Military circles over the qualification and expertise of a relatively unknown Company that was awarded a N24 Billion contract for the supply of two Offshore Patrol Vehicles, OPV, for the Nigerian Navy.
Sacked former Defence Minister, Bello Mohammed Halliru has been linked to the whooping N24 billion naira Defence contract scandal.
According to top Defence and presidency sources, the N24 Billion contract which is for the supply of two Offshore Patrol Vehicles (OPV’s), is being handled by China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, where Halliru allegedly have considerable interests.
The vessels are 1800-tonne OPVs with long bridge, twin rudders and twin controllable pitch propellers powered by two diesel engines.
The vessels are to be delivered in three years. They are mainly to be used for maritime surveillance patrol and response.
Other roles of the vessels include the protection of offshore assets, patrol of the nation’s exclusive economic zones, surveillance and search and rescue.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that the above firm, which has no proven track record in the area of building and supply of offshore patrol vehicles, is partly owned by one Oladapo Oguntayo Adewunmi, who takes of the interests on Halliru.
Pointblanknews.com also unearthed how Halliru, as Defence Minister, mounted pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to approve the award without recourse to the Federal Executive Council,(FEC) got the nods of the Budget Office and the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP), all in a few days.
It was learnt that the initial award, which was done without any form of due process, as only China Shipbuilding bidded, was presented to President Jonathan in December 2011. But the President declined, insisting that the award must go through the FEC. His directive was dated February 23, 2012.
Initially the company presented to Jonathan was Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, but when the President asked them to go through FEC, they hurriedly went to Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and switched the name to China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited. The motive is still cloudy.
But the Permanent Secretary in the Defence ministry, L.N Awute, in a letter, to the , on the same subject, dated March 28, 2012 said Messrs China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited is a partner with Messrs Shipbuilding Offshore International Limited, in a joint venture.
Documents available to Pointblanknews.com reveal that 12 days after the President’s directive, Halliru allegedly working in tandem with Adewunmi, on March 6, 2012, wrote another request for the contract approval.
They cited a working document of the FEC meeting held on July 21, 2010 wherein the council agreed not to have ammunition and other similar military hardware forwarded to council in view of security implications.
The Budget Office quickly wrote a favourable installment payment pledge letter in support of the award.
It was also learnt that even though the vessels will come from China, European price was used to value the contract.
There are several questions begging for answers: How did this firm get certified by the BPP, why a sudden name change, which other companies bidded, can the defence ministry redirect the company to be issued award letter different from that approved by the president, why the hurry when the budget was yet to be signed?
Pointblanknews.com presidency sources also reveal that the Chief of Staff prepared the summary sheet for the award to the President, on March 9, 2012, buttressing the exclusion from council.
Halliru had been named in the AG Siemens scandal where he was alleged to have collected €70,000 in two installments.
Culled from Pointblanknews.com
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