(Pointblank News) – Baring any last minute changes, the National Assembly will approve N10 Billion for the purchase of an abandoned rusty Navy Oceanographic Survey Vessel valued at about $30 Million for the Nigerian Navy, Pointblanknews.com investigation has revealed.
This is part of the 2012 budget proposal for Capital projects for the Nigerian Navy which also includes additional N6.7 Billion for purchase of two offshore Patrol Vessels, N1.2 Billion for purchase of six Coastal Patrol Vessel for South South and South West and N1 Billion for purchase of 6X7 M Inshore Boats and Spares.
Other expense in the Navy Capital budget currently being debated by the Federal Lawmakers in Nigeria includes, N460.4Million for purchase of Ship Spares and N588.8 Million for the purchase of Helo Spares.
The controversial Oceanographic vessel investigates naval concerns, such as submarine and mine detection, sonar and weapon trialing.
Kenya, the original owner of the Vessel, was made to sign the contract for the Vessel procurement in 2003 for £51, 997,00 Million (about N8.4 Billion) but had to stop payment when Euromarine, the Barcelona, Spain based company contracted to do the job allegedly inflated the actual cost of the project.
The Vessel was supposed to be delivered to the Kenyan Navy in August 2005.
Kenyan Government also discovered that Euromarine has a business relationship with Anglo-Leasing Finance, which was indicted by its Controller and Auditor General’s Report on the now popular Anglo Finance Scandal.
Kenya Controller & Auditor General had published a report on single sourced security contracts where widespread fraud through non-delivery and overpricing were suspected with Anglo-Leasing Finance owned by one Deepak Kamani.
Euromarine, a company whose address could not be found in Spain where it claimed to be domiciled, is linked to a Sri Lankan tycoon Anura Pereira who has been severally investigated and indicted with corruption in Kenya.
Military sources in Kenya told Pointblanknews.com that Euromarine tried to milk the Kenyan Government by “over inflating the actual cost of the Vessel,” which was estimated at about $30 Million maximum.
A Military source in Kenya who would not want to be named told Pointblanknews.com that “The vessel has our name and our shield on it, but it is not ours.
There are some important questions that need to be answered.”
However, Euromarine built the Vessel in 2003 for the Kenyan Navy and it has become a subject of litigation at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, UNCITRAL.
The Vessel, codenamed KNS Jasiri, has been docked at a shipyard in Spain since 2005 rusting away with most of its parts malfunctioning.
Pointblanknews.com gathered that In February 2008, Euromarine wrote to the Head of Kenyan Public Service, Francis Muthaura complaining that the Government was stalling on payment and threatening to sell the Vessel
Investigations revealed that when talks broke down between the Government of Kenya and Euromarine and without a headway at the arbitration Court over the fate of the Vessel, some unknown middlemen brokered a deal with some Nigerian officials at the Defence Ministry offering “juicy cuts.”
The deal, according to sources with the Ministry of Defense is aimed at pressuring the Ministry to acquire the abandoned Vessel for N10 Billion, a cost far more that what Kenya agreed to pay in 2003 when it signed the initial contract.
Pointblanknews.com investigation in Spain where the Vessel has been docked since completion in 2005 revealed that the Vessel now has a problem with Z-drive lower unit gear, major rust underneath, a rusting exhaust pipe, parts of the Hull does no fulfill military requirements as a research Vessel, according to an expert who spoke to Pointblanknews.com on a condition of anonymity.
“Much of the equipment on board is outdated and not functioning any more, it is full of rust and other possible defects as the vessel has not been operating since it was manufactured in 2005,” a source in Spain told Pointblanknews.com
Military analyst hinted that Nigeria might spend more that $25 Million additionally to fix the dilapidated Vessel, equip it with modern gadgets.
A source added that while it will take not less than 18 months to refurbish the 7 years old Vessel, most of its gadgets are outdated.