The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah is embroiled in financial fraud scandal over allegations that he and the outgoing first lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan carried out some shady deals in the Defence Ministry.
The weighty allegations are contained in two petitions currently before the incoming President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari and made available to OrijoReporter.
According to the petitioners, Lieutenant General Minimah has close tie with the First Lady, Mrs. Jonathan, and the duo have helped themselves to several contracts in Ministry of Defence without following due process.
The petition reads, “We can reveal with authority that Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah is not the superior in the Ministry of Defence but due to his closeness to the outgoing First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan he perpetrating frauds in Ministry of Defence.
“Ordinarily, he is supposed to take orders from the ministry led by the defence minister but in this case, he instructs them on what he wants. He counters approvals of the Minister of Defence on military contracts. Due to the fear of the First Lady, no body questions him, and due process are not followed in several contracts, particularly those that relate to arms acquisition.”
The petition also detailed how the new formation of the 30/31 Battalion which President Jonathan approved the funds is yet to take off due to alleged sharp practices perpetrated by the Chief of Army Staff. It also alleged that soldiers were forced to sign documents in an attempt to cover the misappropriation.
A second petition is about an alleged $500 million defence contract awarded to Arthur Eze for purchase of refurbished helicopters. Listed in the petition are the National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh and Chief of Army Staff Kenneth Minimah.
Several cases of corruption, impunity and illegality were given deep bite including a long list of houses that Minimah is alleged to have bought in Abuja.
“We have been witnessing the gradual takeover of parts of the country by Boko Haram while the PDP government forages for whom to blame for its inactions. We have been shocked by recent revelation by an Australian priest and negotiator, Stephen Davies whom the PDP government contracted to help it deal with the Boko Haram insurgency, as he did with the Niger Delta insurgency. As soon as he tells the truth about the sponsorship of Boko Haram, which links top members of the PDP, in line with the Security Report tendered by the late General Andrew Azazi, the former National Security Adviser, the party had been doing everything to sweep the reports under the carpet because it did not agree with its frenzied attempt to link the APC to the sponsorship of Boko Haram. Do Nigerians wonder why the party is conspiratorially sounding helpless in dealing with Boko Haram while increasing the trillion Naira yearly security budgets and now, trying to borrow an additional $1billion to tackle Boko Haram? Most of these funds disappeared between the Nigerian Army and the office of the National Security Adviser.
“The Defence industry Kaduna (DICON) was established in 1964, the same year with the Brazilian defence corporation. They were designed primarily to produce small arms and ammunition for the use of the Army and other security agencies. The corporation were also to use their excess capacity to produce machinery spare parts for industries and other products for civilian use.”
According to the petition, India and Brazil set up similar corporations same year and had since gone ahead to exceed their primary mandates.
“Our own DICON has not only stagnated; its main preoccupation now is making furniture, and since the coming of the current Chief of Army Staff, Kenneth Minimah, they’ve been importing arms and ammunition for the Army contrary to the intent of the Act that set it up.
“It has no business with bulletproof cars. Purchases of heavy weapons. Things like bulletproof cars are the responsibilities of Policy and Plans in the Ministry of Defence. That job was taken over by the Nigerian Army. In most cases, the Ministry is afraid of doing their job for fear that General Minimah may drag them before the First Lady. The whole thing is curious.
“For instance, details of DICON’s N2.59 billion total allocation in the 2013 Federal budget did not clearly show a provision for purchase of any bulletproof cars. But N497 million was provided for “purchase of defence equipment” under capital projects. Where did the money come from?”
The petitioners alleged that Minimah and his collaborators are using a fraudulent company sanctioned by the US as conduit for their alleged financial malpractices.
“United States government recently imposed sanctions on four Chinese companies for allegedly breaching a US law designed to hamper the development of weapons of mass destruction by Iran, North Korea or Syria.
“The companies included Poly Technologies, a subsidiary of China Poly Group – a central government-administered state enterprise originally founded by the People’s Liberation Army.
“The sanctions mean that no US government department or agency may enter into procurement contracts with the companies or assist them. They will also not be given new licences for the export of items controlled by export regulations.
“Poly Technologies deals with missiles and other military products. Founded in 1984, it is mainly engaged in the import and export business of general merchandise, special equipment and technology.
Poly Technologies was involved in the Shipment of Weapons to Zimbabwe around the time of the 2008 election crisis, and was then refused entry into South African Ports shortly before docking.
“Poly technologies are the company helping DICON to siphon monies out of Nigeria in the name of importing arms and ammunition. There is a former ADC to Yar’Adua, a Brigadier, code named as ‘two face general’ who is working in Ukraine. He was to be dismissed from the Army until some folks covered him up and posted him out. He is the architect of the siphoning of the funds.
“DICON today is not better that Onitsha market. It is a trading zone. The folks in Abuja use it to run budget funds out in the name of buying equipment for the prosecution of the Boko haram insurgency. Monies go out but no equipment comes in,” the petitioners wrote.
By Yinka Ogundimu