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N600m Arms Scam: EFCC Closes Case Against Atawodi, Others



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 presented two witnesses to close its case against a former Chairman Presidential Implementation on Maritime Safety (PICCOMS), Air Vice Marshal Saliu Atawodi (rtd) and two others who are being prosecuted before Justice U.P Kekemeke of the FCT High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja for conspiracy, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

Atawodi allegedly abused his position as chairman PICCOMS to defraud the Nigerian government to the tune of N600million through a dubious contract to procure military boats. He awarded the contract to Hassan's Hypertech Nigeria Limited. The contractor was fully paid, but the boats were never supplied. The contract award process violated the Procurement Act.



The witnesses, Major General Shay Tan (rtd) a Jew resident in Israel, narrated how he came to know Hassan (2nd defendant) as someone with wide security connection.
Tan stated that he met Hassan sometime in 2011 when he was working on a project in AKwa Ibom State.

“Hassan told me that he was the director of a company called Hypertech Nigeria Ltd while General Aliyu Gusau (rtd) is the Chairman. I am married to the General's daughter.
“Around the same time, a certain information about some security equipment (boats) came to our knowledge. Apparently, in 2008/2009, the federal government had earlier awarded contract for the supply of 20 security boats by the name of K38 which was valued at N3.5billion naira to T.P Marine in Netherlands”.
“The contractor (T.P Marine), after getting eighty percent of the money paid the shipyard eight of the twenty boats requested for and manufactured six. Apart from the down payment, the shipyard never got the rest of the payment to supply the rest and so the shipyard was willing to sell the remaining six boats at any price".
“I met Hassan and told him about the boat which cost $500,000 (five hundred thousand US dollars), which was obviously not the real price as it went far much less.
“Hassan collected the documents and promised to get back to me. When he came, we agreed to enter into a joint venture agreement that whatever will be the cost of it and the profit will be shared between MI5 Consultant and Hypertech Nig Ltd.
“Hassan told me that the client is PICCOMS which was under the office of the NSA. Within a short period, we organised an inspection visit to the Shipyard in Netherlands as it is a normal practice for government to check the equipment in order that it meets the requirement. The visit included AVM Atawodi and his team, Officers from the Nigerian Navy, Secretary of PICCOMS and Alhaji Mustapha Mohammed, who was also a director in Hypertech.
“After the inspection, the team moved to London where agreements were signed between the representative of the Shipyard, Mr. Shay Tan (PW4) and Mohammed at the cost of 2.1million Euros.
“After signing the document, MI5 Consultants wired $500,000 from its account in Germany to T. P. Marine in the Netherlands and we were promised that we would be paid back.
“Surprisingly, PICCOMS paid N620million (which as at then was equivalent of $4million) to Hypertech Nig. Limited. A month after, Hassan told me that, his chairman, General Aliyu Gusau (rtd), did not agree to him signing the agreement. Around that time, Mohammed also informed me that all the money paid to Hypertech had disappeared and the account was empty.
“Worried by the report, I met Atawodi and his response to me was that he (Atawodi) did not have contract agreement with me”, Tan stated.

In his evidence, Yakubu, an operative of the EFCC, told the court that in the course of the investigation, he called the petitioner (Hassan) who happened to be the second defendant and a signatory to the account (Hypertech) which was petitioned against.
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