"Both the Armed Forces and the Ministry of Defense had inadequate internal control over the process of selling F-5 fighters, which ran from 1999 to 2015," Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss said in a statement, citing the authorities' "weak documentation" and "insufficient understanding of the rules of the export of military equipment."
So far, there has been great uncertainty about how the billionaire came to acquire the aircraft for such a price, since the first bid, by the Armed Forces, was 6.6 million NOK per aircraft ($770,000). The sale of the aircraft was handled by the Armed Forces Logistics Organization (FLO), which previously encountered trouble for selling naval vessels to Nigeria and all-terrain carriers that ended up in Sudan, which raised suspicions of gross corruption, the Norwegian daily Dagbladet pointed out.
"The FLO had no routines and systems that ensured that important documentation was filed and stated no reason for the decisions taken," Per-Kristian Foss pointed out. "The internal control of the Armed Forces was too bad, and the Defense Ministry failed to comply with its overall responsibilities," he added.
"The defense had not checked ownership before it signed a binding agreement with an assumed Greek company," Per-Kristian Foss pointed out, citing lack of transparency and traceability.
In her response to the OAG, Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, acknowledged that she did not contest the OAG's findings. She nevertheless argued that the report failed to draw and adequate picture of the Armed Forces' practice of disposing of materiel. She also defended the sale of aircraft below the market price. According to Søreide, Norway has been trying to rid itself of the planes for 15 years, and the only realistic alternative was the destruction of the aircraft, which cost the state coffers millions of kroner.
For many years, Norway had tried to get rid of 15 retired F-5 fighters, also known as Freedom Fighters. According to the OAG's report, twelve of them were donated to schools and museums, and one is being used for training.
I think this old Norwegian F5 looks slightly depressed in the snow and dusk. No wonder. pic.twitter.com/BfxOceYZtP— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) February 3, 2015
Henry Ross Perot Jr. is a real estate developer and American businessman. He is best known as the elder son of American billionaire and former US presidential candidate Ross Perot, as well as for having circumnavigated the world in a helicopter at the age of 23.
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