In line with the arms procurement scandal surrounding the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Thursday, said that his government never awarded any contract in the range of $2 billion dollars.
The former president who spoke at a forum in Washington DC, tagged “Presidential elections and democratic consolidation in Africa: Case studies on Nigeria and Tanzania”, said the claims by the Buhari led administration, that said that such an amount of arms procurement contract were procured, are false and unsubstantiated.
He said, “I did not award any $2 billion contract for procurement of weapons.
“Where did the money come from? I did not award a contract of $2billion for procurement of weapons,” he repeated emphatically.
You will recall that an interim report of a presidential investigations committee, into the procurement of arms under the Jonathan led administration, revealed that it found extra-budgetary spending by the administration to the tune of N643.8 billion and an additional $2.2 billion in the foreign currency component, all managed and supervised by Dasuki.
In a statement on Wednesday, Dasuki had said that all contracts and accruing payments were made based on the approval of President Jonathan, adding that due process and military procurement regulations were followed in all the transactions.
Dasuki said, “Nigerians should note that all the services generated the types of equipment needed, sourced suppliers most times and after consideration by the Office of the NSA, the President will approve application for payment.”
Jonathan, who was the sole speaker at the event, co-hosted by National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), stated that the figures said to be missing from Nigerian treasury is unbelievable. “Sometimes, I feel sad when people mention these figures.
“When the president Muhammadu Buhari paid official visit to the US, there were some figures that were mentioned that I don’t believe,” he added.
Jonathan scoffed at the probability of “$150 billion American money” alleged to have been stolen in previous Nigerian administrations, wondering how such an amount will be missing and “Americans will not know where it is,” adding that at any rate President Buhari did not accuse his administration.
“He didn’t say my government, he said previous administrations… “$150 billion is not 150 billion Naira,” he stated, suggesting, “People play politics with very serious issues.”
On the sum of $59.8 million which was allegedly misappropriated within a 12-month period while he was in office, Jonathan said, “In Nigeria, if you lose $59.8 million in a year, federal and state governments will not pay salaries.
“There is no way Nigerian budget can accommodate such a loss without the country coming to a standstill.
“Of course we brought international audit teams, forensic auditors and they didn’t see that,” he added.