Former Nigerian military chiefs stole as much as $15 billion through fraudulent arms procurement deals.
This is contained in a report tagged; “Weaponising Transparency: Defence Procurement Reform as a Counterterrorism Strategy in Nigeria”.
It revealed that huge sums equivalent to half of Nigeria’s foreign currency reserves were stolen.
The 19-page report by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Transparency International (TI) UK, unveiled yesterday in Abuja said defence sector corruption has weakened Nigerian counterterrorism capacity and strengthened Boko Haram terrorists.
It was jointly presented by the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani and a Senior Legal Researcher at TI, Eva Marie Anderson.
“Nigeria’s corrupt elites have profited from conflict; with oil prices at a record low, defence has provided new and lucrative opportunities for the country’s corrupt kleptocrats.
“Defence sector corruption in Nigeria has enabled the political elite to accumulate and distribute political patronage. Longstanding military exceptionalism, meanwhile, has justified weak and compromised oversight of security -related spending and excessive secrecy,” the report said.
It said most significant corruption opportunities are those exploited through inflating procurement contract values and creating “phantom” defence contracts.
The TI report said security contracts were used as a vehicle for money laundering and facilitated via weak or corrupted Nigerian banks, with illicit financial flows hidden in property in the UK, United States, South Africa and Dubai.
The report stressed the case a former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col Sambo Dasuki rtd, currently standing trial for allegedly mismanaging funds meant for the weapons procurement to prosecute the Boko Haram war, as an example of how the country’s defence sector leaves room for exploitation.
Reacting, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) denied allegations of corruption levelled against the Nigerian Military.
Defence spokesman, Major General John Enenche, at a press conference in Abuja yesterday said the damning accusations in the TI report were false.
He said the present leadership of the Armed Forces of Nigeria has done a lot to train, boost troop’s morale and procure vital equipment through due process, for the Northeast operations against Boko Haram.
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