Former Military Boss allegedly stole N4billion according to ICPC
An ex-military chief stole N4 billion from the military budget and deposited it into the accounts of two companies where he is the beneficial owner and the only signatory, according to information provided by Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission.
Owasanoye revealed the information at a national policy discussion on corruption and insecurity in Nigeria that the ICPC hosted on Friday in Abuja.
He added that some of the properties purchased with money from his service were also fraudulently converted for his use. He claimed that the stolen money was used to buy houses in Abuja in the names of friends and proxies of the military leader.
He declared, “The ICPC and our sister agency (EFCC) are looking into allegations of misappropriation of funds designated for security involving some former military and security personnel.
“For instance, a former commander of one of the military’s armed forces transferred N4 billion from the military budget into the accounts of two firms where he is the sole beneficial owner and signatory in the final months of his term.
“The money was spent on buying Abuja houses in the names of friends and proxies.
“Some of the properties paid for by his service were also fraudulently converted to his use. ICPC’s prosecution of this high ranking officer to recover all the implicated assets was strangely and perversely frustrated by a recently retired High Court judge who decided to forfeit some of the assets to FGN and the rest left to the suspect.
“While the Commission has filed notice of appeal, this strange development aggravates an already bad situation and escalates insecurity and impunity.”
The head of the ICPC brought up another fraud case that the Commission was looking into, claiming that certain employees of the line ministry transferred about N1 billion to four shell businesses.
Owasanoye added that while investigations are still underway, around N220 million in cash has been collected.
The theft of a portion of the special intervention budget authorized for security operations by some civil employees in the line ministry, who transferred about N1 billion to four shell firms, is another case that is currently under investigation, the official said.
“A special investigative team under the leadership of NSA and ICPC recovered some of the diverted assets including state of the art building located in Abuja and over N220 million cash. Investigation on this matter is still ongoing.
“In fact, a clinical diagnosis of the insecurity menace in the country reveals that to effectively combat insecurity we require the collaborative efforts of Security Agencies (the military, intelligence, Police, Customs, Prisons, others), as well as Law Enforcement and Anti-Corruption Agencies.
“There are also ongoing investigations into military contracts spending.
“Recently, ICPC arrested a military contractor that received over a period of less than 10 years cumulative sum of about N6 billion from the Nigerian Army in suspicious circumstances and in violation of extant legislation.
“The Commission’s recovery of huge cash sums in local and foreign currencies, luxury cars, customized mobile phones, designer watches including three Rolexes as well as property documents from the premises of the contractor underscore the corruption that often attend military procurement.”
He pointed out that the National Assembly and the administration of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) have significantly increased the funding for the security sector.
He added that security issues can be partly attributed to the Centre for Democracy and Development’s revelation that $15 billion has been lost through shady arms procurement deals in the nation over the course of the last 20 years.
The government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the 9th National Assembly have made sure that the security sector has received much more financing over the last seven years, according to Owasanoye.
“Part of our interrogation today is why has this proactive effort not translated into commensurate effectiveness in the war against insurgency and insecurity and despite the gallant and sacrificial effort of our soldiers, policemen and other security operatives working daily to secure Nigerians?.”