In what can only be characterised as treasonous insubordination, a General, who is the coordinator of peace keeping in the Ministry of Defense, Lym Hassan was secretly recorded allegedly threatening to ‘eliminate’ President Muhammadu Buhari over a defense contract.
Brigadier-General Lym Hassan was arraigned before the Military Court on October 30 2017 and was charged with two allegations: Spreading rumours that Presdient Buhari is dead and demanding the some of $600,000 as bribe from a defense contractor.
Although he is being court-martialed, more interesting facts have emerged about the scandal surrounding the defense contract in question, leaving many with the conclusion that the Ministry of Defense is in every way replete with corruption.
According to TheCable, Buhari approved a $1,464,750 contract on September 26 2016, for the relocation and refurbishment of a Level 2 Ministry Hospital under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) following a directive from the UN.
With what many term as suspicious, there was another Presidential approval for the same contract, this time for the sum of $1 million and dated November 9 2016. Leaving many wondering at the authenticity of two Presidential approval, for one contract, with different sums.
In February 2017, the contract was awarded to OPEMS Integrated Concepts Ltd for $1 million, for the two-months execution period, expected to end in April 2017. Interestingly the Job was not done and Nigeria failed to meet the August 2017 deadline for the relocation of the hospital.
With the bulk of the contract sum, allegedly been shared, Hassan purportedly demanded $600,000 from OPEMS Integrated Concepts. Unknown to Hassan, he was recorded while allegedly making the demand, according TheCable.
In the course of being recorded, he was asked by the contractor he was trying to extort, if he was not afraid of Buhari’s anti-corruption war, the General had allegedly retorted: “If the president queries us, we will eliminate him.”
In the resulting brouhaha and the risk of discovery, it would seem General Hassan, is the scapegoat, to bear the consequences of this fraudulent deal. As the question on everyone’s lips is who taped Hassan when he carelessly threatened his Commander in Chief.
However, Colonel Tukur Gusau, who is spokesperson of the Minister of Defense, Mansur Dan-Ali, had alleged that Hassan is facing court-martial, over an unrelated matter, that had nothing to do with the controversial defense contract.
Tukur stance is being contradicted, because the charge sheet against Hassan includes the controversial contract.
An insider in the Ministry of Defense ministry TheCable: “With the charge sheet now reading that Hassan was spreading rumours that the president was dead, the game has changed. The facts of the matter have been tailored to throw him under the bus.
“Hassan has become the scapegoat but the bulk of the contract money was shared across board. He carelessly talked himself into trouble and he will carry the can for all those who participated in the bazaar.”
Officials at the Ministry of Defense, are concerned about the entire debacle and hope president Buhari would intervene by setting up a probe, so those who participated in the scandal, will be punished – not limiting it to just Hassan.
Although the Minister of Defense through his Spokesperson, has reiterated that there was no fraud in the award of the contract and it followed “due process” and the project in question has been completed and awaiting inspection; there are more questions than answers:
- What “due processes” led to the award of the contract to OPEMS Integrated Concepts Ltd, with office address at Garki market?
- Was OPEMS the company that was approved by the President, in executing the said contract?
- The sum of $1,464,750 was requested for by the ministry and approved by the President. Why was the contract awarded for $1,000,000?
- Why were there two presidential approvals for the same contract, namely PRES/178/MOD/77 on September 26, 2016 (for $1,464,750) and PRES/178/MOD/82 on November 9, 2016 (for $1,000,000)?
- Who taped Hassan’s comments about the president and why? What were his exact comments? Will MOD make the tape available to the public?