On 6 August, a report from OCCRP says that the Inspection Générale des Armées, an independent body that audits the armed forces, found problems with contracts amounting to over $320 million out of the $875 million in military spending it reviewed. The US contributed almost $240 million to Niger’s military budget over the same period. The Inspection Générale’s auditors said more than $137 million had been lost to corruption. It discovered that much of the equipment sourced from international companies – including Russian, Ukrainian, and Chinese state-owned defence companies – was significantly overpriced, not actually delivered, or purchased without going through a competitive bidding process. In addition to cash it provided to Niger’s military, the US spent $280 million building a massive air base which reportedly costs $30 million a year to run, allows US forces to launch drones for both surveillance and air strikes. France and the EU are also major donors to Niger’s military. The report says that at the centre of the network of corruption are 2 Nigerien businessmen who acted as intermediaries in the deals: the well-known arms dealer Aboubacar Hima, and Aboubacar Charfo, a construction contractor with no previous experience in the defence sector. Auditors allege that the men rigged bids by using companies under their control to create the illusion of competition for contracts.