Niger: second audit report on public procurement to the Ministry of Defense
Security forces on the streets of Niamey in Niger, March 2020. Boureima HAMA / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
In Niger, the judicial investigation continues after the audit carried out on public procurement at the Ministry of Defense. The judicial police have already heard several protagonists. Justice was seized on the basis of a final audit report which is not the provisional report, mediatized until then. This report, dated March 29, proves that negotiations between the authorities and the suppliers took place and that they resulted in promises of partial reimbursements.
After the shock caused by the first audit report in February, the government asked suppliers to explain themselves. The objective was then to find an amicable solution. For three weeks, the suppliers were therefore called one by one to the Ministry of Defense.
On the irregularities noted in the procurement procedure, the suppliers unanimously recognized the grievances, according to the document consulted by RFI.
About the overcharges pointed out by the investigators, they recognize the figures but reject the qualifier of overcharging. They request that new random charges be taken into account when calculating their margin. After discussion, they finally agreed to return part of the money, around 25% of what they would have received too much, according to the provisional audit report.
" Its non-delivery necessarily jeopardizes the military tool "
Concerning paid and undelivered equipment, commitments have also been made so that this equipment arrives quickly or that it is reimbursed. In the list of undelivered equipment, we find ammunition, spare parts for armored vehicles, trucks and crane trucks, but also the anti-missile system of the presidential plane for example. If each company and its representative have undertaken to deliver the equipment or to reimburse it, three companies have not made a proposal, and for good reason, they have no representative in Niamey and two of them are located in free zone. According to the final audit report, they received the equivalent of more than two million euros in advance without delivering anything.
The fact remains that if this material was ordered, one might think that it was necessary. " Its non-delivery necessarily jeopardizes the military tool, " said an analyst who is also worried to learn that two Mi-35M helicopters have been stranded in Russia for questionable procedure instead of fighting in Niger.
On the basis of these negotiations, the shortfall for the State could be reduced. If the suppliers honor their payment commitments, the loss for the State would only be 45 billion FCFA instead of 76 billion, or about 70 million euros instead of 110 million. However, this does not take anything away from the irregularities noted on which the justice system must rule today.
► Read also: Niger: overwhelming revelations on the audit of the Ministry of Defense
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