An anti-corruption group, the Corrupt Practices Eradication Organisation of Nigeria (COPEON) has requested the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the executive vice chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Professor Mohammed Sani Haruna, over alleged corruption and fraudulent research products claims.
In a five-page petition and backed with another eight-page supporting evidence, against the NASENI boss, COPEON through its counsel, Abubakar Animiokhali &Co, urged the anti-graft agency to prosecute Haruna over his activities during his first six years tenure as the chief executive of NASENI.
The group noted that research is known worldwide to be the key to the development of any nation but warned that if Nigeria was to develop, its research institutions should be cleansed of the scourge of corruption to ensure that they achieve their mandates.
In the petition signed by Valentine Obiajulu Esq, and received by the EFCC in May, 2018, the group alleged widespread financial irregularities in the award of contracts up to the tune of over N480 million and another €110,000 (about N49.5 million) by Haruna. According to the group’s petition, the EVC of NASENI allegedly engaged in detestable and fraudulent acts in the award and execution of contracts as well as splitting of contracts. COPEON further alleged that NASENI under the watch of Haruna had in 2015, deceived President Muhammadu Buhari, and presented him with a 5KW Kinetic hydro turbine for electricity generation to Gada Hamlet in Akwanga local council of Nasarawa State, as a research product of the agency.
But, the group stated in the petition to the anti-graft agency that the turbine was imported at the cost of N8.5 million, while the original owners of the turbine is Smart Hydro Power of Germany and its representatives in Nigeria.
COPEON also alleged that NASENI under Haruna deceived Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and minister of science and technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, into commissioning an unmanned area vehicle (UAV) at the Eagle Square last March as a research product of the agency. It also stated in the petition that the UAV was a product of amusement, developed from imported toys by a roadside craftsman in Delta State which Haruna shamelessly linked to PEEMADI, Okenne as a research achievements of NASENI. The anti-corruption crusader also alleged that November 2017, NASENI under Haruna, awarded a contract for the supply of a helicopter to one Mr Thierry Blanchart of Dynali Helicopter company at the cost of €110,000. The group however regretted that the helicopter was yet to be supplied even though the specified period for the contract was 13 weeks.
Another allegation COPEON wants the EFCC to look into was the embezzlement of the sum of N24.705 million paid to Hashmite Global Technology Limited meant for the supply of complementary wood working machines for SOMMEDI, Nasarawa State. The group noted that apart from the machines donated to NASENI by the Japanese government, no additional wood working machines were acquired by Haruna. COPEON also alleged that due process was not followed in the bidding process for many of the contracts as many of the contracts awarded by Haruna were fraudulently split. “It will be apropos to conduct thorough scrutiny of the mode of selecting these consultants, their scope and relevance of their services and the quality of their reports will reveal that the consultancy contracts are smart schemes for misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds,” the group alleged.