How did a Nigerian Army General save the sum of $1.5 million from his earnings as a soldier that he purportedly used to buy expensive real estate property in the United Arab Emirates?
This is the question a hefty section of Nigerian civil society wants to know, and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) on Wednesday sent a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in that regard, calling on the anti-graft agency to commence investigations into all angles of the case under Section 7 of its Act.
The group said it was convinced that with the information available, it has become incumbent upon the EFCC to undertake this investigation to establish how General Buratai, the current Chief of Army Staff, managed to save $1.5m, saying this must be explained to Nigerians as the matter is raising national tension unnecessarily.
“Our call is predicated on the unclear circumstances surrounding the said properties given that the COAS has reportedly admitted to owning the mansions which he claimed to have acquired with his ‘life savings’ and that he made the declaration when he underwent the assets declaration processes on two different occasions with the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB,” CACOL said.
Text of the petition:
REQUEST FOR OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION INTO ASSETS DECLARATION OF LT. GEN. TUKUR BURATAI, THE NIGERIAN CHIEF OF AMRY STAFF, COAS, ON THE ALLEGED CASE OF OWNING PROPERTIES IN DUBAI, VALUED AT $1.5m
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) is an aggregate of human rights, community-based, and civil society organisations with an anti-corruption agenda across Nigeria. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian, non-profit Coalition. CACOL sets for itself the task of using any available means to cause relevant authorities to probe and bring to book all corrupt leaders both in public and private institutions. We also strive to protect interest of persons or groups found to be victims of potential victims of corrupt practices or processes of manipulation. The decision to embark on the journey he was taken in the year 2007 in view of the need to confront, once and for all the monster that is ravaging all facets of our national life in Nigeria - Corruption.
We once again commend your bold achievements since you assumed office, with the steam and energy you have demonstrated thus far we are convinced that Nigeria is truly on its way to ridding the society of corruption.
We find it pertinent at this point to call on your Commission to commence without further delay, investigations into the allegations of false assets declaration of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, particularly over the widely reported mansions valued at $1.5m owned by the COAS.
Our call is predicated on the unclear circumstances surrounding the said properties given that the COAS has reportedly admitted to owning the mansions which he claimed to have acquired with his ‘life savings’ and that he made the declaration when he underwent the assets declaration processes on two different occasions with the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
The COAS is currently in the eye of the storm following the revelation that he owns the two properties in Dubai, even though the CCB has affirmed that Buratai declared the said assets for reasons of discrepancies between the legitimate earnings of the General and the value of the properties.
We are convinced that with the benefit of the information on ground, it has now become incumbent upon the EFCC to commence investigations into all the angles of the case as the Commission is constitutionally empowered to, in Section 7 of its Act. How an army General managed to save $1.5m has to be explained to Nigerians, as the episode is rising National tension unnecessarily.
This is why it has become imperative and urgent for the EFCC to immediately carry out thorough investigations into the Buratai case given the official position he occupies in our National hierarchy and the implication of the allegations on our National life and image.
The investigation, we suggest must include the verification of the value of the assets declared by the COAS for it to be thorough and to ascertain the value of the said properties vis-à-vis the legitimate and provable earnings of the COAS.
Should any crime be found to have been committed by the COAS, then he should be tried and if found guilty, he must resign and face the sanctions of his crime.
It is our position that, at this stage, the EFCC should take the central stage in handling the Buratai case as it is constitutionally empowered to. This, we believe will boost the integrity of the EFCC and the much touted ‘no sacred cows’ mantra of the anti-corruption drive of the government and prove the absence of bias or selectiveness (like some are wont to say) in the war against the Frankenstein monster called ‘corruption’.
Please accept our strong solidarity in the fight against corruption as we await your Commission to immediately swing into action on the asset declaration case of the COAS. Let us together ‘Name, Nail, Shame and Shun Corrupt Leaders Anywhere, Everywhere!”
Yours in service to humanity,
Executive Chairman, CACOL