Some former Co-ordinators of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme accused of squandering and misapplying funds meant for the Amnesty programme may be asked to face trial or refund various sums.
Among those fingered in the massive waste of resources totaling N712billion are immediate past coordinator of the PAP, and Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Prof Charles Dokubo, and his predecessor in Office, Brig-General Paul Boroh (Rtd), among others.
Top level Presidency sources confided in The New Diplomat that following an alleged damaging report which indicted Prof Dokubo, Boroh and some past coordinators, the federal government is currently weighing the option of dragging the accused before trial on the one hand or being asked to refund various sums of money that have been determined by the committee set-up to probe the Presidential Amnesty Office, on the other hand.
Recall that the interim report of the winding down committee set up by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj. Gen Babagana Munguno (Rtd) to investigate allegations of corruption in the PAP had uncovered alleged looting and misappropriation of funds up to the tune of N712 billion since 2011.
The New Diplomat’s checks reveal that Mr. Kingsley Kuku, Brig-General Paul Boroh(Rtd) and Professor Charles Dokubo were the Coordinators of the PAP and Special Advisers to the President on Niger Delta Affairs between 2011-2015; 2015 -2018 and 2018 to 2020, respectively.
Further checks also reveal that the most worrisome subject matter to the Investigating team was the reign of financial recklessness, and pointless spending that characterized the time Dokubo served as PAP Coordinator.
On Boroh’s part, Presidency sources told The New Diplomat that the former coordinator had reportedly returned funds in the past. It is not however clear what his status would thus be in the light of the latest damning report before the presidency.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked Dokubo as the Coordinator of the programme on August 27. The sacking of Dokubo, a Professor of international relations and security studies came exactly six months after he was suspended in line with the recommendation of the winding up committee which examined the mountain of petitions against him. The firing of Dokubo did not however come to many as a surprise.
For instance, the report revealed that in 2018 alone, Dokubo awarded a total of 774 contracts amounting to N66,687,570, 000. The figure was more than the amount budgeted for the entire programme that year, thereby violating extant procurement laws and public expenditure protocols.
“Additionally, most of the contracts awarded add no value to the program, but served as avenues to siphon funds,” the report alleged.
According to the Committee’s report, the N712 billion allegedly squandered equals the total intervention funds the federal government has released for the programme in the last nine years. In addition, the program is indebted to the tune of more than N73 billion.
Read also: Uncovered! How N712bn Amnesty Fund Was Allegedly Squandered By Dokubo, Others [Documents]
The report also revealed that 635 companies are presently being owed a total amount of N71, 411, 646, 230, 68 contract claims, even though the report claimed contracts were issued without compliance to procurement provisions leaving the program highly indebted.
On Kuku’s part, a digital newspaper, THEWILL recently reported that the United States Department of Justice has alleged that billions of naira inappropriately stripped from the PAP by Kuku, were transferred to various bank accounts in the United States.
According to the report, it was from those accounts that funds were laundered and used to purchase airplanes to start Air Peace as well as luxury homes and vehicles. The news medium further alleged that, the US government believes that Allen Onyema, the CEO of Airpeace is Kuku’s business partner, who laundered at least $44m through US bank accounts.
However, Airpeace has consistently denied any involvement in Kuku’s alleged issues. Back to Prof Dokubo, he was also indicted for colluding with the data unit of PAP to include names of individuals in the database that are not ex-militants for the purpose of benefiting from sponsored training programs.
Dokubo, it was gathered was also implicated in the looting of N6 billion worth of goods at the Bayelsa vocational training centre in Kaiama. 53 companies were said to have supplied equipment worth N93 million to PAP warehouse at Kaiama but in broad-day light, properties were looted by unknown robbers. The thieves were not apprehended.
Recall that the report which asked the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to commence investigations and recovered funds from defaulting contractors as soon as the verification exercise is concluded was most miffed with the alleged level of financial sleaze that characterized the PAP during the period under review.
Recall also that following the committee’s recommendation, President Buhari had recently named Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (retd) as new interim coordinator of the PAP. While lamenting the scope of alleged financial waste that characterized the programme, National Security Adviser (NSA), Major-General Babagana Munguno (retd) said, “There was a lot of corruption, waste, mismanagement.” “Within this period, N712 billion was wasted basically unaccounted for and this is due to so many issues- corruption being at the fore.”
He added: “Consequently, the program is currently owing contractors the sum of N71,411,646,210.68. This informed Mr. President’s decision to overhaul the Program aimed at ensuring that the dividends of the Amnesty Program reach its original target beneficiaries.”
Similarly, the new interim programme coordinator said, “The program as currently structured is not sustainable and cannot deliver the desired long-term benefit to the region and the country. The objectives of the Federal Government is to refocus the Amnesty Program to its original mandate of development and security of the Niger Delta Region.”
The New Diplomat checks indicate that Kuku, Boroh and Dokubo who were the Coordinators of the PAP and Special Advisers to the President on Niger Delta Affairs between 2011-2015; 2015 -2018 and 2018 to 2020 respectively have been focus of the investigations.
The report’s findings hinted that Dokubo, and others indicted in the report may have been asked to refund misappropriation of the funds or in the alternative face trial. The funds alleged to have been wasted during the period under review total about N712 billion.