Group accuses Buhari campaign organisation of fraud

A supporter of the All Progressive Congress (APC) holds up the sign of President Muhammadu Buhari's re-election campaign [Twitter/@BuhariCentre]

The group at a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, alleged that the presidential campaign of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is been bankrolled by a foreign company with a contract interest with a federal ministry.

Addressing a select group of journalists in Abuja, the operations director of the group, Demba Abdulahi, disclosed that the company had contract with the federal government until it was terminated last year.

The group alleged that prior to the termination of the contract, the company had been paid $50 million which was never refunded, adding that the said payment is allegedly being diverted to fund the APC's campaign.

Some civil society organizations had in 2017 petitioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives regarding a deal involving the foreign company.

The petition, signed by 10 CSOs and dated November 14, 2017, was presented to the House of Representatives. It was entitled: 'Petition on the Ceding of Nigerian Coastal Waterways to HLSI Security Firms and Technologies and Commercialization of the Nigerian Navy to Shorefac Consortium Ltd.'

The CSOs claimed that the deal was an aberration to Nigeria’s sovereignty to national security, and appealed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives to investigate the contract worth $195million, particularly the procurement process leading to the selection of the HSLI company.

On December 8, 2017, the House of Representatives had demanded a halt to a contract. The chairman, committee on public petitions, Uzoma Abonta, made the official demand. The committee discovered that the Navy had not received an invitation and was not prepared to respond to questions as the deal was hurriedly brokered by a minister without the involvement of the Nigerian Navy.

On March 2018, the House committee on public petitions, which investigated the scandalous contract, revealed that the contract would violate appropriation laws because it was not based on the actual budget and recommended outright termination.

The lawmakers said that HLSI was not a registered company in Israel and the minister involved failed to supply them with documents even after they have conducted eight different hearings on the matter.

The House of Representatives on January 11, 2018, criticized the management of Nigeria Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for awarding the contract to the foreign firm, insisting that the project is a breach of Nigeria’s internal security.

The House noted that the contract was not only a security breach but also defies the local content law, which promulgates patronizing of Nigerian goods and services.

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