THE Nigerian Army has found Hakeem Otiki, a Major-General and former General Office Commander (GOC) of 8 Division, Nigerian Army Sokoto, guilty of N100 million fraud.
The General Court Martial (GCM) set up by the Nigeria Army to investigate alleged embezzlement of funds belonging to the Nigerian Army while Otiki served as GOC of 8 Division, recommends him for demotion from the rank of Major General to Brigadier General and dismissal with dishonour.
The decision of the the GCM headed by headed by Lamidi Adeosun, a Lieutenant-General is subject to review and final approval of the Army Council.
Global Sentinel reports that Adeosun read the profile Otiki who had served in the Nigerian Army for 34 years.
“Many will be praying to have such an unblemished career and record of military service in the country like the accused senior army officer”, Adeosun was quoted as said before pronouncing the sentence.
He said that having confirmed that Otiki is a first time offender in his 34 years of “previously unblemished career in the army and to the Nigeria armed forces”, the court president said it would “not fail in dispensing justice. We would do the very best with the humanness and kindness that the law allows.”
The President of the General Court Martial then went ahead and delivered the sentencing of Otiki and ruled as follows:
Count Five: Two years loss of seniority on rank of Major General. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count Four: Severe reprimand. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count Three: Reduction of rank to Brigadier General with two years seniority on the rank. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count Two: Dismissal, disgrace and dishonour. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
Count One: Dismissal, disgrace and dishonour. Subject to confirmation by the Army Council.
- All monies recovered by the Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) of the Nigerian Army totaling N135,382 million and $6, 600 dollars from the convicted senior officer should be returned to the Nigeria Army coffers.
- The N150million stolen by the accused senior officer which remained unaccounted for in Count Two should be returned to the coffers of the Nigerian Army.
The prosecution counsel, Major AA Onumo had earlier thanked the court martial for doing justice to the case after the conviction of the army general.
According to Global Sentinel, Otiki had been on trial following the abscondment of five soldiers attached to his office with the sum of N100 million but which had erroneously been reported in the media as N400 million.
The five soldiers, who absconded with the money were allegedly instructed to deliver it to a senior officer in Kaduna for the purchase of furniture meant for the 8 Division of the Nigerian Army in Sokoto.
The fleeing soldiers, who have since been declared wanted are: Corporal Gabriel Oluwaniyi, Corporal Mohammed Aminu, Corporal Haruna, Oluji Joshua and Hayatudeen. One of them Lance Corporal Isah later returned the sum of N15 million as well as $6,600 to army authorities voluntarily and he was detained.
Lt. General Lamidi Adeosun who is also the Army Chief of Policy and Plans led the nine month trial.
Others on the jury of the court martial include Major General A Tarfa, Major General FO Agbugor, Major General FA Nadu, Major General N Mohammed, Major General CT Olukotu, Major General C C Okonkwo. He also named Major A Mohammed was the judge advocate; and Captain A Ibrahim the Liason Officer.
It could be recalled that on January 23, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had ordered the interim forfeiture of the sum of $376, 120 allegedly seized from Otiki, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.