Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Ex-military chiefs under investigation for stealing security funds: ICPC chair

Mr Owasanoye was discussing how grand theft of security funds by military chiefs was festering insecurity around the country when he made the disclosure.

• September 10, 2022
Bolaji Owasanoye and Tukur Buratai
Bolaji Owasanoye and Tukur Buratai

Some former military chiefs are being investigated for fraud, says Bolaji Owasanoye, chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

Mr Owasanoye was discussing how grand theft of security funds by military chiefs was festering insecurity around the country when he made the disclosure.

“At face value, insecurity is seen to be, and is sometimes treated as a matter requiring only a military response or reaction, but an in-depth look into its possible root cause(s) shows that corruption is a major contributory factor to the continued existence and propagation of insecurity in the country,” Mr Owasanoye said at a “Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria” in Abuja on Friday. 

Citing cases of massive looting of funds by military top brass, Mr Owasanoye said “some former military and security personnel are being investigated by ICPC and our sister agency for embezzlement of funds allocated to security.”

“There are also ongoing investigations into military contract spending. Recently, ICPC arrested a military contractor that received over a period of less than 10 years, a 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, customised mobile phones, designer watches, including three Rolexes, as well as property documents from the premises of the contractor underscores the corruption that often attends military procurement,” Mr Owasanoye added. 

In June, Peoples Gazette reported how ICPC operatives raided an Abuja property linked to former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai. The anti-graft agency, while confirming the recovery of exotic materials from the raid, said the raid was targeted at a military contractor Kabiru Sallam.

Last year, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Munguno, alleged that funds meant for the purchase of weapons have been mismanaged by service chiefs.

Speaking further Mr Owasanoye said “a former head of one of the arms of the military in the twilight of his tenure deposited the sum of N4 billion from the military budget into the accounts of two companies where he is the beneficial owner and sole signatory. 

“The proceeds were used to purchase properties in Abuja in the names of cronies and proxies. Some of the properties paid for by his service were also fraudulently converted to his use. 

According to the ICPC Chairman, 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 anti-graft chief said.

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