The Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), a coalition of over 150 anti-corruption organizations, has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately investigate a Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, Umaru Mohammed, over an alleged multi-billion naira fraud.
The petition, which was signed by the coalition’s national chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said CSNAC is availing the anti-graft agency additional materials submitted to the Network by concerned citizens over the alleged fraudulent practices of Mohammed, adding that the Nigerian public is keeping a tab on the investigation as there would be no hiding place for corrupt elements in the society.
Taking the cue of its petition from a November 12, 2016 report of This Day newspaper, the coalition said the online version of the paper revealed that the Nigerian Army and EFCC are currently investigating a serving senior officer and Managing Director of Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL), Brig-Gen. Umaru Mohammed, over allegations of fraud running into billions of Naira.
The petition read: “According to the report, Brigadier General Mohammed, who was the long-time Chairman of the defunct Presidential Committee on the lease of Federal Government properties, is also being accused of laundering several billions of Naira in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The senior officer is reported to be in the habit of intimidating civilians with his position, and engaged the Management and Board of National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance) in a battle of supremacy for the control of the firm.
“Not having his way, he was said to have written a petition to the EFCC to investigate some management staffers of NAHCO Aviance who opposed his selfish takeover bid of the company. But in a counter-move, the anti-graft agency decided to dig into his background, which subsequently uncovered some alleged damning illicit deals and unprofessional conducts.”
The petition added that, “Furthermore, the newspaper reported your agency’s suspicion of how a serving Army officer would be engaged in boardroom squabbles in a non-military agency, leading to open investigations into Mohammed’s source of alleged multi-billion Naira worth of shares and properties. He was also alleged to have shares in various companies in the worth of N20 billion. These include UAC, UBA, NAHCO Aviance Plc, Okumo Oil, Dangote Sugar, and Vitafoam amongst others.
“This Day also revealed that your agency's letters dated October 19, 2016 addressed to the Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and another dated October 24, 2016, confirmed investigation into the activities of the Army officer. One of the letters, addressed to the Managing Director of NAHCO Plc, was on the investigation of the activities of Mohammed (rtd), one Captain Enyinna Okpara who was alleged to be his accomplice and his company (AWHUA Resources Limited).
“It was reported that the Commission has since frozen some of the investments and properties worth several billions of Naira across Nigeria linked with the officers but sources claimed these revelations are just a fraction of the purported fraudulent acquisitions.
“According to sources from your agency, it was revealed that successful conclusion of investigations into the multi-billion Naira worth of assets and cash in banks extended beyond Nigeria to Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and yet to be unraveled locations (thus, this would be one of the defining achievements of the Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC).
“It was also disclosed that while the EFCC investigation was ongoing, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, ordered a detailed probe of the allegations and affirmed the commitment of the force to your commission's prosecution of the officer in question if found wanting.
“Surprisingly, it was revealed that during these happenings, General Mohammed, in a letter addressed to one of the publicly quoted companies in the Nigerian capital market, introduced himself as Chairman of AWHUA Resources Limited, which he claimed owns 7.4% interest in a company with 105 million ordinary shares, valued at over N2billion,” CSNAC said in the petition.
The network said further that it is in “possession of several documents by Brig. Gen. Mohammed, on behalf of AWHUA Resources, in which he requested for a Board seat in a public quoted company for his nominee, Captain Enyinna Okpara, and confirming himself as a senior serving officer with the Nigerian Army.
“Investigation with the Corporate Affairs Commission shows the General as a majority share holder in AWHUA. The big question is how a serving military officer is so heavily involved in such business and sort to be represented on the board of a company?
“Brig-Gen. Mohammed’s ownership of AWHUA Resources, which is a major player in the Nigerian Capital Market for several years, contravened the requirement of the Code of Conduct Bureau by not disclosing his holdings as a public officer which your Commission is said to be investigating.
“It was also revealed that the embattled officer (referred to as an “evil spirit” by friends) was suspected of laundering Federal Government funds into private businesses and acting as a front for former public office holders. According to the report, it is however shocking “how he has survived for several years despite several petitions from high ranking Nigerians, State governments, serving and retired officials in the Army until the arrival of Magu.
“CSNAC is thereby by this petition availing you materials relevant to your reported investigation as submitted to our Network by concerned citizens. We therefore demand your prompt and continued action on this matter as there is should be no hiding place for all those illegally appropriate our collective patrimony,” the coalition said.