…Risks arrest as EFCC steps in
By ADE ALADE
Three weeks after he was summoned to appear before security agents probing a N6 billion contract for the procurement of six K38 patrol boats for the Nigeria Army, a former National Security Adviser, NSA (name withheld) has failed to turn up for questioning or send legal representation.
President Goodluck Jonathan recently ordered investigations into allegations of fraud levelled by one of the contractors awarded the boat contract.
The presidential directive is coming on the heels of a petition dated October 12, 2012, entitled: “Conspiracy, fraud, supervision & compromising of Nigeria’s National Security and Official Corruption in the award and execution of National Security and defence projects in Nigeria by a group of Jews operating under many guises with the active connivance and involvement of a few unpatriotic Nigerian government officials and businessmen.”
The petition, signed by one Hassan Rabiu, Managing Director of Hypertech (UK) Ltd, which is said to be backed by the ex-NSA, is accusing two firms, MI5 Consultant and International Security Consultants, owned by the two Israelis – Shay Tal and David Maman – of fraud.
Other companies and persons listed in the petition are Hypertech Nigeria Limited, owned and operated by one Mohammed Mustapha of No. 14, Zaire Street, off Mississippi Street, Maitama in Abuja; AVM Saliu Atawodi, chairman of Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS); Amit Sadeh, owner of Dolyatec, another Israeli operating in Nigeria and TP Marine, a Holland firm that manufactures K-38 military boats.
According to the petition, sometime in 2007, the Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to Amit’s company, Dolyatec, to supply 20 units of the K-38 patrol boats to the Nigeria Army at the cost of over N6 billion. Dolyatec allegedly collected 80 per cent of the total contract sum and supplied only eight units of the boats. The balance of 12 boats is yet to be supplied.
According to the petition, Hypertech CEO in November 2011 was introduced to TP Marine B.V, the manufacturers of the boat, by the firm’s original agent, Mr. ZVi Turbo of Shval Saar Limited. TP Marine, Hypetech’s MD claimed in his petition, expressed its willingness to sell the remaining 12 unpaid boats at auction price to offset its banking obligation. In the face of the deadlock, Hypertech got government’s nod to supply the remaining boats, but at the point of payment, another dispute arose on the real owners of the company. While Hassan Rabiu is laying claim to Hypertech (UK) Ltd, another person, Mohammed Mustapha, claimed to be the original owner of the company.
As a result, a team of investigators was set up in the office of the National Security Adviser, in addition to another probe being conducted by the Department of State Security, DSS and the latest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has just begun its own investigation into the alleged fraud. Saturday Sun gathered that the ex-NSA was formally written about three weeks ago to interact with the team of investigators, following the interrogation and statements already made by two Israeli security consultants, Shay Tal and David Maman, as well as AVM Atawodi, Chairman of PICOMSS, who allegedly fingered the ex-NSA as the shadowy promoter of the company, Hypertech (UK) Ltd, which collected money for the supply of the army patrol boats without making any supply.
Findings by Saturday Sun across the three panels in the presidency, DSS and EFCC, however, showed that the ex-NSA has not appeared before any of the teams for interrogation. It was further gathered that the man at the centre of the controversy, Rabiu Hassan, who has been away in Saudi Arabia, has now returned to the country and consequently quizzed by the DSS and the presidential team, while he is again expected to also make statements at the EFCC anytime soon. A top security source revealed: “Though the former NSA has not showed up before any of the panels, Rabiu Hassan has, however, tried hard in his statements before DSS and the other team to extricate the retired General (ex-NSA).”
When asked of the consequence of not honouring an invitation from security agents by the former NSA, the source said: “Each of the investigating teams will decide what to do depending on the approval they get from higher authorities. He may ultimately face arrest or be charged along with other suspects in the case if any shred of evidence is found against him or a prima facie case is established against him.”
In his defence of the former NSA, Hassan had said: “It has nothing to do with any former NSA, as it was a fraud/corruption perpetrated solely and exclusively by the chairman of PICOMSS, AVM S. Atawodi, in collaboration with two Jews operating in Nigeria as International Security Consultants/MI5 Consultants (Mr. Shay Tal & Mr. David Maman) and a very young but very hungry and dishonest Nigerian called Mohammed Mustapha of Hypertech Nig Ltd.”