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MoD wasting billions with ‘broken’ procurement system, MPs warn


MoD wasting billions with ‘broken’ procurement system, MPs warn

The Ministry of Defence’s MoD system of procurement is “broken” and is repeatedly wasting billions in taxpayers’ money, according to a scathing assessment by a watchdog committee of MPs.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said that the oversight in the department was so poor that it was unable to spell out what additional capability the country will get from an extra £16.5bn which was allocated by Boris Johnson last year.

Of the current 20 largest projects, 13 were running behind, by a cumulative total of 21 years – including the £4bn-plus Ajax armoured vehicle, delayed due to excessive noise and vibration. There is “no timescale” when it will be ready for service.

No firm figure was put on the amount of money lost, but the MPs said there had been “wastage of taxpayers’ money running into the billions” and that the MoD at times “lacks the skilled personnel” to manage its suppliers. “The department’s system for delivering major equipment capabilities is broken,” the committee added.

Dame Meg Hillier, the Labour chair of the committee, said: “This committee is determined that this state of affairs cannot, and will not, continue” – and demanded that the Treasury conduct an emergency review of MoD project management.

The senior MP said that PAC members feared that “last year’s lauded and substantial uplift” of £16.5bn over four years would “simply be used to plug financial holes across its programmes” because the MoD could not give assurances to the contrary.

The prime minister announced the extra capital spending nearly a year ago, promising it would lead to “a once-in-a-generation modernisation of our armed forces” – including the introduction of laser weapons.

But at the time the MoD also faced a £13bn shortfall in its equipment budget, stemming from historic overspending, which had forced it to reduce the numbers of new Challenger 3 tanks, P-8 submarine hunting maritime patrol aircraft and Type 26 frigates.

A total of £4bn had already been spent on the heavily delayed Ajax out of “whole life costs of £5.5bn,” the committee noted, yet only 14 vehicles – 2% of the total requirement – had been delivered by contractor General Dynamics for testing.

One year ago, the MoD thought Ajax would initially enter service in the summer of 2021 – but this date was not met and the issues over vibration and noise are so serious that 310 service personnel were undergoing tests to see if their hearing had been permanently damaged.

The noise and vibration problems dated back to December 2018 but the MPs voiced concern that the MoD was still in the dark about the cause. “Despite the length of time the department has known about this issue, there is still no definitive information on the source of the noise and vibration,” the PAC said.

Eight programmes were rated either “amber/red or red” by senior officials responsible for delivering them on a traffic light scheme used across government for rating the progress of major procurement projects.

Of broader concern, the PAC said, was the MoD’s apparent inability to learn from its mistakes despite 13 formal reviews of defence procurement over 35 years.

“We were therefore shocked to learn that the department had only established a central register of learning from experience (LFE) in December 2020,” the MPs added. “Experience shows that there is a need for reflection and openness earlier in the process to avoid further catastrophes like Ajax.”

The MoD frequently cited the complexity of the programmes to explain why they had fallen behind, but sceptical MPs said this was not the case. Such arguments aimed to “excuse the fact” that the MoD and its suppliers “failed to produce more realistic costings and schedules”, the committee concluded.

An MoD spokesperson said: “This report reflects the complex challenges of delivering defence capability for our armed forces, but also the commitment and professionalism required to keep our people and the UK’s interests safe, by purchasing world-class equipment such as Lightning II stealth fighter jets, and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers.”

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Court grants Adoke bail, trial resumes Jan 11

OPL 245: I’ve been vindicated again, says ex-AGF Adoke

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday granted permission to former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, to travel to the United Arab Emirates to meet with his family.

Adoke is currently standing trial alongside Aliyu Abubakar, a property developer, over allegations of money laundering amounting to N300m.

The EFCC alleged that Adoke made a cash payment of $2,267,400 to Unity Bank in 2013 in contravention of money laundering laws.

Adoke, through his lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN, prayed the court to invoke sections 36 and 37 of the 1999 Constitution to allow him to travel to see his family.

He noted that since the trial of Adoke in money laundering charges brought against him by the FG commenced, he had not been with his family members based in the UAE. Agabi said the former AGF needed to spend time with his family to maintain his physical and mental health, urging the court to grant his request.

He added that since his client was admitted to bail, he had been religiously and consistently attending the trial and had never behaved in any manner suggestive of intention to jump bail.

In his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo agreed that Adoke had been attending the trial and had never attempted to jump bail, adding that he was persuaded to grant the request.

The judge thereafter ordered that Adoke’s passport deposited with the Registry of the Court be released to him to travel to the UAE.

Justice Ekwo ordered that the former AGF must return to Nigeria before January 11, 2024, for continuation of his trial in the charges against him.

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Nigerian Man Defrauds 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, secured the conviction and sentencing of Eze Harrisson Arinze before Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for defrauding 34 victims in 13 countries of $592,000(Five Hundred and Ninety Two Thousand United States Dollars).

Arinze was re-arraigned on one count charge bordering on impersonation and obtaining under false pretence.

The amended count charge reads:

That you, EZE HARRISON ARINZE alias Charlotte Brain, sometime between April, 2021 and December, 2022 in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did fraudulently impersonate one Charlotte Brain a purported owner of digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx investment platforms on telegram and in that assumed character obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through your bitcoin address -333AgHuT8wAhowRBQZ2ASxxxxxxxx domiciled with Coinbase, a Virtual Asset Service Provider and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22(3)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (4) of the same Act.

The defendant pleaded guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

In view of the plea, prosecution counsel, Christopher Mshelia, urged the court to convict and sentence the defendant as charged.

Earlier, Ogunjobi Olalekan, a prosecuting witness and a detective of EFCC, while concluding his testimony-in-chief, told the court that the evidence gotten in the course of investigation was based on the printout from the defendant`s email, other digital currency platforms, his telegram page code named `Digi-trade, including response from banks which was in a cumulative sum of $592,000 worth of cryptocurrency as at December 4, 2023.
He added that the defendant was afterwards invited to make statements under words of caution.

Justice Omotosho convicted and sentenced Arinze to three years imprisonment, with an option of N3,000,000.00( Three Million Naira only) fine. He added that 11.07 Bitcoins valued at $461,280.70 as at December 4, 2023 be restituted to the 34 victims from 13 countries as identified.

Furthermore, the judge ordered that a total sum of N37,977,108 domiciled in his bank accounts be forfeited to the Federal Government, including a plot of land located at plot No. 34 Anioma Layout, Umuchigbo Iji-nike in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State measuring approximately 1380.609 Squares meters.

Arinze’s journey to the Correctional Centre started when he impersonated one Charlotte Brain, and created a fictitious investment platform, digitrades.netxxxxxxxxxxxxxx on telegram and in that assumed character, obtained cryptocurrency worth $592,000.00 (Five Hundred and Ninety Two US Dollars) from Coinbase exchange users, through his bitcoin address.
His victims are from Burundi, Cameroun, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda, United States of America and Zimbabwe.

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Abdulfatai Adeyemi, son of late Alaafin, dies few hours to his 47th birthday

Prince Abdulfatai Adebayo Adeyemi, one of the sons of the immediate past Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Atanda Olayiwola Adeyemi, is dead.

The Prince, popularly known as D-Gov, died in the early hours of Friday at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan after battling diabetes.

His father died in April, 2022.
The Oyo prince, who was the immediate past Chairman of Oyo State Local Government Pension Board, died a few hours to his 47th birthday.

Abdulfatai was the House of Representatives candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections.

The election was won by his younger brother, Prince Akeem Adeyemi (Skimeh), who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A family member in Oyo said on Friday: “Yes. He is dead. People are there now. They are preparing the grave”.

The Public Relations Officer of UCH, Mrs Funmilayo Adetuyibi, confirmed the death of the late Alaafin’s son, saying that he died at the hospital on Friday morning.

Adetuyibi said that AbdulFatai was brought to the hospital around 12.05 a.m. on Friday and died at exactly 3:50 a.m.

She, however, declined when asked about the disease that the late Oyo prince was suffering from which eventually resulted in his death.

“I can’t disclose his diagnosis or what killed him because it is against our professional ethics,” the UCH spokesperson said.
Another source from UCH also spoke about the death of the late Alaafin’s son.

“Fatai Bayo Adeyemi, one-time Secretary of Atiba Local Government, died this morning (Friday). He was married with children. He was reported very ill sometime last year but survived,” the source said.

AbdulFatai’s death, it was gathered, has thrown the family of the late Oba Adeyemi and the ancient town of Oyo into mourning.

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