The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to explain the award of the USD195 million deep blue contract to a company named HLSI Security Systems and Technologies, which the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) said has no records of registration in Nigeria.
Yusus Adamu Gagdi, Chairman of the House Committee on Navy, which is investigating the deep blue contract, stated this at the commencement of the investigation yesterday in Abuja.
The lawmaker said the CAC had written to the committee that it does not have records of the company’s registration in the country.
Gagdi said Amaechi and the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh, have been directed to supply records of the company when they appear before the committee next Tuesday.
He added that the records would be sent back to the CAC for further investigations.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in June 2021, inaugurated the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, otherwise called the deep blue project, aimed at supplying certain security and surveillance equipment and systems to the country.
The contract was reportedly signed on July 27, 2017 between the Federal Ministry of Transportation and HLS International at the cost of $195.3 million (about N59.84 billion).
Part of the contract was also meant to establish the Integrated National Coastal Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solutions with command and control of infrastructure in the nation’s territorial waters.
Gagdi noted that following the response from the CAC, the committee summoned Amaechi and the Director General of NIMASA to produce the records on the contract award.
“We have equally invited the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA); we have invited NIMASA, that their Director General appear before this committee for the purpose of this investigative hearing to explain some issues that we want him to explain to us,” he said.
The lawmaker said the committee had liaised with the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the matter.
He said the AuGF, the CBN, the NPA and the Nigerian Navy have claimed ignorance of the contract, following the exchange of correspondence among them on the contract.
Naval Chief of Operation, Rear Admiral Suleiman El-Ladan said the Armed Forces were never part of the project from conception, adding that as a result of complaints, a steering committee was set up.
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