From ADE ALADE, Abuja
The Department of State Security, popularly referred to as SSS, has finally concluded investigations into the controversial N6 billion contract for the procurement of six K38 patrol boats for the Nigeria Army and submitted a report of its findings to President Goodluck Jonathan. The President recently ordered investigations into allegations of fraud levelled by one of the contractors awarded the boat contracts.
The presidential directive came 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 Nigerians government officials and businessmen.”
The petition signed by one Hassan Rabiu, Managing Director of Hypertech (UK) Ltd, who is said to enjoy the backing of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), fingered two firms owned by two Israelis, among others. According to the petition, sometime in 2007, the Ministry of Defence awarded a contract to Dolyatec to supply 20 units of the K38 patrol boats to the Nigeria Army at the cost of over N6 billion. The company allegedly collected 80 percent of the total contract sum and supplied only eight units of the boats without supplying the balance of 12 boats.
According to the petition, Hypertech CEO, in November 2011, was introduced to TP Marine B.V, 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 as to 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. Saturday Sun gathered authoritatively that after weeks of investigations and interrogations of all named suspects by SSS operatives, a damning report that indicted virtually all parties to the dispute was prepared and endorsed to President Jonathan by the SSS. Beyond fingering some of the parties to the dispute, the report also recommended that “they be made to refund the funds already collected for which no boat has been supplied or charged to court for criminal diversion of public funds.”
A top security source privy to the content of the report said: “None of them was spared, including those that have even gone public to celebrate that the SSS has cleared them. They will be shocked whenever Mr. President directs implementation of the report.” When asked what is delaying the implementation of the report, the source said: “Mr. President has already minuted it out to an appropriate authority to review and act on, but another leg was added to the whole controversy when it was discovered, through a separate discreet investigation on one of the principal actors, that his claim that a sitting governor of his home state was a beneficiary of a meteorological radar equipment contract was a lie because the governor has denied getting any contract from his organisation when he held sway there. So, more things are coming out beyond the scope of the initial probe.”
Those that had already been interrogated by the SSS in connection to the boat contract probe include the petitioner, Hassan Rabiu; his estranged business partner, Mustapha Mohammed; two Israeli security consultants, Shay Tal and David Maman as well as top shots of the recently dissolved Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Security (PICOMSS), among others.