President Muhammadu Buhari, earlier this week terminated a new defence procurement contract initiated by the members of his cabinet over allegations of fraud.
The contract, signed off by the Federal Executive Council in December 2017, would have seen the contractor, HSLi, net $195 million in exchange for an undisclosed number of special mission aircraft, special mission helicopters and 12 fast intervention vessels for the Nigerian Navy.
The contract would reportedly see Nigeria acquire three helicopters, three aircraft, three big battle-ready ships, 12 vessels and 20 amphibious cars to secure Nigerian waters. The deal was midwived by Nigeria’s transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi. Critics described the deal as a classic defence contract designed to steal, with the transport minister playing the role of “The Government Guy”.
In the memo dispatched by the Chief of Staff to the president, Abba Kyari, directing the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to terminate the contract, the president also ordered the National Security Adviser and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency to investigate how the contractor obtained security clearance for the job without an end-user certificate. The president also ordered that the contractor should be made to supply items equivalent to the $50 million upfront payment which they received recently.