By Idris Ahmed
The contract was for the relocation and refurbishment of Level 2 Ministry Hospital under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) following a directive from the UN, as a result of coordinated attacks by the Tuareg Terrorists on the facility, the hospital’s proximity to the Bamako airport, among other factors necessitated the decision.
The UN Level 2 hospital is a second line or “brigade/sector” level surgical facility for limited specialist expertise and limited surgical capabilities, including life, limb and organ-saving surgeries.
Under the UN system, 18 Level 2 hospitals are being operated by troop/police from contributing countries. Countries get paid by the UN for the use of their facilities. Nigeria’s Level 2 hospital was established to support the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in 2008. The hospital was later relocated to its temporary site in Timbuktu in 2013 to support MINUSMA.
Sequence of sordid events
21/07/2016 – Minister of Defence, Brigadier Mansur Dan Ali (Rtd.), writes the President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting for $1.4 million for the project.
9/11/2016 – Presidency approved the project and released $1.4 million, as requested by MOD.
2/2/2017 – After PMB approved the contract at the rate of $1,464,750, in favour of Kashalome Nigeria Limited, having satisfied all rituals (BPP, certificate of incorporation, capacity/expertise of the company etc.). However, some unscrupulous elements within the Presidency and the Defence Ministry connived and used the first contractor’s quotation and came up with another offer of $1.000, 000, claiming that the earlier one was on the high side.
MOD then awarded the contract for $1 million to OPEMS, a company belonging to Alhaji Yarima Ibrahim of 2nd Avenue, EFAB Estate, Life Camp, Abuja (Naij.Com, citing Sahara Reporters). It should be noted that the Alhaji Yarima has dual identity; he’s also Adamu Usman of Flat 3, Ibro Estate, Karmo, Abuja. He did not participate in the original bidding process at all, and he has zero experience in such work. Conditions of the contract includes 2 months’ time limit within which to complete it. There was also no provision for variation of the cost, meaning that the contractor cannot come back later and ask for more money.
The contract till date has not been executed, as only part of the hospital under MINUSMA was dismantled and left at the current location, according to the Cable. However, on 6th November, 2017 (after the scandal has been uncovered), one Mrs. Bilikis Ibrahim (MD/CEO, OPEMS), purportedly wrote a letter tagged “Notification of Completion of Contract and Request for Inspection” to the Minister of Defence. On the basis of which, the office of the Minister of Defence debunked the online publications on the matter. Thus, Col. Tukur Gusau (the PRO) to the Minister of Defence stated in a Press Release on 8th November, 2017 that “the said contract has already been successfully executed and the contractor has requested for a team from the Ministry of Defence…the team is due in Mali soon”.
Nonetheless, MOD could not account for the missing $464,750 from the $1,464,750 originally released by the Presidency, OPEMS came back to tell MOD that the contract could not be done because there was a variation to the tune of $500,000. So, OPEMS wants more money!
In a major twist to the story, according to The Cable, despite the implications of their actions on the fortune of the nation in peacekeeping and the image of the country, the major MOD actors in the sordid affair, allegedly chose to share the money and/or there favoured contractor OPEMS shared the money paid him, after signing the $1 million contract with the company.
30/10/2017 – Brigadier General LYM Hassan Court-martialed. He is alleged to have said that PMB is vegetating, and in military, such act is tantamount to treason, that’s why he’s being court-martialed. He is also being accused of insubordination to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). More so, the 8th November, 2017 Press Release of Defence Ministry states that “the case of the Army General currently standing trial at Army Court Martial has no connection with award of any contract by the Ministry”. How many lies will they continue to dish out to Nigerians, to shield illegality under an overwhelming elected President?
- For failing to meet the August 2017 UN deadline for a new location, Nigeria was asked by the UN to withdraw its remaining contingent to the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNIMID) because of poor holdings of the contingent-owned equipment (COE), as reported.
- Since the UN already gave a deadline of August 2017 and has asked Rwanda to provide the facility following Nigeria’s failure. Nigeria has lost its credibility.
- Since the UN was going to reimburse Nigeria for the work done, Nigeria just lost a chance to earn a cool $1.4 million in foreign currency.
- Nigeria, which used to be the fifth largest troop contributing country (TCC) in the world as at 2013, is now down to 9th position. Unfortunately, due to corruption at the MOD, it is now ranked 9th in global peacekeeping and 5th in African Union. In contrast, Ghana is now ranked 8th in global peacekeeping and 4th largest in African Union, contributing 3,247 uniformed peacekeepers.
Pertinent questions that need urgent answers
- According to a source in the Ministry of Defence, the second approval is suspicious because “there was no way the President will give approval for the same contract twice. So, who signed the second contract?
- What “due processes” led to the award of the contract to OPEMS Integrated Concepts Ltd., with an office address at Garki market?
- Is OPEMS the same as Zircon Marine or the later was brought in, having realised that OPEMS has no capacity to execute the contract?
- The sum of $1,464,750 was requested for by the minister and approved by the President. Why was the contract redacted and awarded for $1,000,000?
- OPEMS was given “two months” to execute the contract with effect from February 2, 2016, but on 8/11/2016, a clear nine months after MOD says the contract is now “ready for inspection” What is the reason for the delay, despite money being released in good time?
- Since the UN already gave a deadline of August 2017 and has asked Rwanda to provide the facility following Nigeria’s failure, will the Ministry of Defence still hand over the hospital to the UN?
- Why is Brigadier General LYM Hassan, who is the coordinator of peacekeeping at the ministry, being singled out for court-martial, after he was allegedly recorded making “uncomplimentary statements” or was it just another game of “cloning”?
- Why has Brigadier General LYM Hassan being the only army officer court-martialed, all these while and why is the Nigerian Army doing all it could to cover up its inadequacy, at this trying moment of the Nigerian nationhood?
- It was reported that the contract has 2 months’ time limit within which to be completed and the whole matter started in July 21st, 2016. From then to date, has the two months not elapsed? Why the delays or is it targeted to deny some people promotion by October, 2017?
- Which company eventually started work at the Mali Super Camp? Was it OPEMS, Zircon Marine or Kashalome Nigeria Limited?
- Assuming it was OPEMS, which started work in Mali, what was the rationale of the MOD awarding such a high profile project to a company based at a supermarket, with Yahoo email address, without a website and which has never commissioned such a project before?
- Why is Alhaji Adamu Usman still walking freely, despite being the primary suspect in the murder of Miss Joy Odama, a 200 level student of Mass Communication Department at Cross River State University of Science and Technology (CRUTEC)? Has investigation been completed? What was the finding, if completed?
- Next sitting of the court-martial is billed for 30th November, 2017 at Abacha Barracks; will Nigerian and foreign journalists be allowed to attend?
- Why is the notorious Alhaji Adamu Usman always perambulating Defence Ministry, the Police and the Presidency? Who are his boys within these institutions?
- Who is Mrs. Bilikis Ibrahim and why didn’t she write to notify the Defence Ministry of the completion of work, until recently, precisely 6th November, 2017?
May God save Nigeria and Nigerians. Amen.
Credits | cupstv