178,459 police weapons and ammunition have been declared missing.
According to the Federation’s Auditor General’s report for 2019, the Police Armory lost 178,459 different types of arms and ammunition without being reported in 2019.
The report also claims that the police high command failed to keep a comprehensive record of unusable and expired firearms and ammunition.
This, it claims, could lead to firearms being converted for illegal use.
Pages 383 to 391 of the “Auditor General for the Federation annual report on non-compliance/internal control weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December 2019” contain the revelations.
The report, titled AuGF/AR.2019/02 and addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, was signed by the Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, on September 15, 2021.
“In accordance with section 85(2) and (4) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), I have the pleasure to submit to the National Assembly, two copies of the Auditor General for the Federation’s annual report on non-compliance/internal weaknesses issues in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the letter from the Auditor General reads.
According to the report, the Police Force’s actions are in violation of Financial Regulations paragraph 2603.
“In the event of any loss of stores, the officer in charge of the store in which the loss occurs shall report immediately to the head of department or unit, but not later than three days, by the most expedient means possible if the loss occurs away from headquarters,” it says.
“Audit observed from the review of the Arms Movement Register, Monthly Returns of Arms and Ammunition, and Ammunition Register at the Armoury section that a total number of lost firearms as reported as of December 2018 stood at 178,459 pieces,” the statement continued.
“Of this total, 88,078 AK-47 rifles and 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols from various police formations remained unaccounted for as of January 2020.”
“No formal report on the loss of firearms was presented for examination through a dully completed Treasury Form 146 (loss of stores).”
“Records obtained from force armament at the Force headquarters revealed that the 21st Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron in Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas a schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF revealed a total of 46 missing arms between 2000 and February 2019.”
“No document relating to the cost of acquisition of the lost firearms was presented for examination, so the value of the lost firearms could not be determined.”
“Weaknesses in the Nigeria Police Force Armament’s internal control system could be to blame for the above anomalies.”
According to the report, there was a risk of mishandling firearms/firearms falling into the wrong hands, firearms being converted to illegal use, and government funds being lost.
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“Several numbers of firearms have become unserviceable and dysfunctional as a result of the review of the Arm Issue Register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition obtained from Force Armament, Force headquarters for various States Commands, Formations, Zonal offices, Training Institutions, squadrons, and physical inspection of firearms and ammunition at the Force Headquarters,” it continues.
“There were no returns from Adamawa State Command, Police Mobile Force (PMF) 46, 56, 64, and 68 for the period under review, and no records of the total number of unserviceable firearms were produced for examinations.”
“Similarly, some Police Training Institutions and Formations failed to submit returns, and physical verification of firearms and ammunition at Force Headquarters revealed a large quantity of damaged and obsolete firearms that needed to be destroyed.”
“The damaged and obsolete firearms and ammunition should be destroyed in accordance with Financial Regulations 2618, which states that the destruction must be done in such a way that the firearms are rendered unusable for their original purpose.”
The Police Force was also accused of financial irregularities, including awarding and paying for contracts above its approval threshold and paying for them without evidence of project execution totaling N3,271,439,688:30, according to the Auditor General.
It claimed that a single proprietor was awarded ten contracts worth N1,136,715,200.00 in the names of three different companies, all of whose profiles, contact phone numbers, and email addresses were identical.
“The three companies did not disclose their relationship in accordance with the fundamental principles of procurement as required by existing regulations,” the report continued.
While attributing the irregularities to flaws in the Nigeria Police Force Armament’s internal control system, the AuGF speculated that the contract may have been awarded to a “incompetent contractor” and that payment was made for a contract that was never completed.
It demanded that the Inspector General of Police explain why contracts were awarded to companies controlled by the same individuals, account for the money, and remit it to the true treasury.
The report also accused the Police Force of paying N924.985 million for 11 contracts involving the construction of three Gunshot Spotter Systems, the supply of 50 Ballistic Roller Trolleys, and the installation of 20 Ballistic Mobile Surveillance Houses in selected Commands and Formations without providing evidence of project completion.
End User Certificates, Store Receipt Vouchers (SRV), Store Issue Vouchers (SIV), and Job Completion Certificates, it added, were not presented for audit examination.
It went on to say that the contracts for items claimed to have been built/supplied at the Force Headquarters, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) unit, and Police Mobile Force (PMF) unit as specified in the award letters had not been completed as of the physical verification of the purported items in June 2020.
In the report, the AuGF also demanded that the Inspector General of Police explain why payments were made for contracts that were never completed, as well as recover and remit the money to the Treasury.
The Force also made three payments totaling N38,731,491.30 to two contractors in 2018 to cover 2017 liabilities on procurement of Ballistic Helmet Grade III A and Riot Gun 38mm, according to the Auditor General’s report, without evidence to confirm that the expenditures were provided for in the approved Estimates for the year.
Another N7.092 million was spent in seven payments from sub-head 0406(L)-Maintenance of Ammunitions and Riot Control Equipment and sub-head 0406(M)-Maintenance of Armory and Ranges for non-related purposes without evidence of virement.
The police also paid N613.480 million in six contracts awarded to two contractors on 17 January 2019 for procurement of Ballistic Roller Trolley, construction of Gunshot Spotter, and Ballistic Mobile Surveillance House, in violation of paragraph 708 of the Financial Regulations, which states that “On no account should payment be made for services not yet performed or for goods not yet supplied.”
“There was no evidence of execution,” it said, “because relevant documents such as invoices, SRVs, SIVs, Ledger entries, and other items were not presented to the team, nor were the items found in the location indicated in the vouchers, while the two contractors were paid in full before the contracts were executed.”
It also stated that a contract for the supply of 20 ballistic mobile surveillance units in Borno State had been signed for a sum of 249,980,000.00, which was above the Force’s and its supervising ministry’s approval threshold.
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“Both contractors obtained Performance Bonds from Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, and the Bond’s validity expired on June 28, 2019,” it says. By implication, the Insurance Company is released from any liability in the event of legal action arising from the Contractors’ failure to perform.
“This practice ran counter to the terms of payment in the contract agreement (Article III) signed and sealed between the Nigeria Police Force and the contractors.
“Specifically, Article III paragraph 3.1C required payment to be made to contractors only after the Buyer’s representative signed a certificate of inspection and acceptance.
“Neither of the contractors took part in the pre-qualification process, and no tax clearance certificates were presented for inspection.”
It also charged the Force with usurping the powers of the Federal Executive Council by awarding two contracts worth N500.335 million, which exceeded the Nigeria Police Force Purchasing and Tenders Board’s approval threshold.
The report claims that the Police Force’s management failed to respond to the eight questions posed to them, and that the Inspector General of Police be asked to provide answers to the Senate and House Public Account Committees, or face being sanctioned for gross misconduct.
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