Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 16 February 2019 | 1,821 times
Israeli security firm, HSLI Systems and Technology Limited, has debunked online media reports linking it and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation and Campaign Director General of President Muhammad Buhari, to a $195 million contract scam.
The $195 million security waterway contract with the Nigerian Government was terminated last year by the Federal Government.
The reports alleged that prior to the termination of the contract; the company had been paid $50 million which was never refunded, alleging that the said payment has been diverted to fund the President Buhari re-election campaign.
Reacting to the reports, HSLI said via a press statement issued by on Friday one of its representatives and obtained in Abuja by News Express: “Our attention has been drawn to the fake news circulating around about our company and an ongoing security project with the Nigerian government.
“Our first instinct was to ignore the falsehood because we know that many Nigerians can differentiate between truth and concocted lies evident in the inconsistencies and contradictions contained in the story. However, as a responsible company with a track record of performance and who value our reputation, we decided to put the records straight so as not allow these obvious mischief makers to deceive the unsuspecting public especially the gullible ones.
“The timing of this recycled fiction clearly exposes the intention of those behind it. Undoubtedly, they are those who think that the best way to divert attention from the issues of the day is to fabricate misleading stories few hours to the election. Their aims are malicious as they are agents of distortion. We will not be distracted. We know who they are, and they know themselves. As professionals we try our best not to interfere with domestic political issues in countries where we operate. We have been working in this country for more than twelve years and at no time have we been accused of any form of integrity deficit. The status of our firm has been verified over and again and we were never found wanting. Our records in this regard speak for themselves. This latest attempt to use our good name ignorantly to attempt to tarnish the image of the Honorable Minister is another exercise in futility. Citizens of Rivers State especially residents of Port Harcourt can testify to the level of security of lives and properties when some of our experts were involved in the implementation of the C4I security project in the state. We all know what the situation is as at today.”
The statement stated that HLSI operates under the principles of corporate responsibility which employs a strategic business and management approach that helps us manage risks accurately to generate value.
“Therefore, we are irreversibly committed to doing our business strictly under the OECD anti-bribery convention rules.
“Our work ethics comply with known international standards. We therefore regret reading the entire tissue of misrepresentation and inaccuracies currently in circulation and peddled by interested parties in Nigeria. It must be noted that while elections come and go, we will not allow these merchants of mischief to create imaginary baggage on our hard-earned global reputation. We are monitoring the situation closely and we will not hesitate to use necessary legal means to defend ourselves.
“It must be noted that the contract in question passed through all relevant departments including the Federal Executive Council (FEC) before it was approved. It does not any way breach any laws of the land nor affect internal security. We are happy to release all relevant details that confirm for instance that there is no component of this project that has anything to do with telecommunications not to talk of contemplating jamming telephone signals. Again, those who are peddling these obsolete lies are unpatriotic elements whose sole aim is to cause panic and fear among the public. The public should be aware and ignore them as nothing like that is being contemplated to the best of our knowledge.”
According to the statement, “The fact remains that Nigeria faces significant challenges in protecting its economic watersheds. As at today, 95% of its international trade passes through the economic waters. These waters have been plagued by complex safety and security challenges for decades. A fact that is causing a significant loss of income to the Nigerian economy. The loss that occurs, among other things, from illegal fishing, pirate activity, robbery, water pollution that harms fish and other hazards that contribute to loss of security and overpayment for trade insurance to Nigeria. The total amount of these nuisances reaches an annual loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, directly harming Nigeria’s potential development and economic growth.
“The Nigerian people deserve to know the truth and have their economic interests in the Nigerian waters protected for the benefit of the Nigerian Nation and distortion of facts like those spread in the article aim to prevent that to the benefit of a small interest group and at the expense of the Nigerian people. It is commendable that the Nigerian government has sought new avenues of unique technologies, experience and knowledge that may contribute to tackling the complex challenges in Nigeria’s economic waters.
“The Nigerian administration’s approach was to adopt a project that would bring all these new technologies, invest capital, and train the future generation of Nigerians to deal with these complex challenges. Our project has already commenced, and many personnel from several security agencies have been trained to ensure technology transfer and sustainability. With the implementation of the project with our company, the Nigerian government receives solutions designated to protect economic and national interests, reduce the danger and increase security and safety in the maritime space, to produce human capital and to bring the project to a state of self-management after supply and installation of different systems during the first two years and training and systems supervision for the third year.
“The project, in its final form, is supposed to produce hundreds of jobs in Nigeria, and allow the growth and development of the marine economy and reduce the risk of importing and exporting goods. It is not connected with campaigns and no clause in our contract is vague. HLSI has received all government approvals required for the operation. Members of the public should also note that heads of all relevant security agencies are members of a committee that ensured that this contract was subjected to all the necessary procedures before it was approved and are currently monitoring its implementation.
“The fact remains that not only that HLSI did not receive the “$50 Million Dollars” advance payment mentioned in the article, HLSI funded the project and opened an APG guarantee for $ 50.4 million.
“Only the relevant Nigerian Authorities hold, and will continue to hold, throughout the term of the project and thereafter, the complete mandate to manage and control the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
HLSI warned that those who may intend to disrupt the internet, jam waves and deny Nigerians access to information especially during this time “must not drag its company into what appears to be a rehashed evil plot”.
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