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Ex-military chief stole N4bn from military budget – ICPC

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The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has disclosed that a former military chief stole the sum of N4 billion from military budget.

Owasanoye said this on Friday, September 9 during an event tagged, ‘National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria’, held at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja.

According to him, the money was deposited into the accounts of two companies where he was the beneficial owner and sole signatory.

He said the ex-military chief, whose name he did not disclose, used the stolen funds to buy properties in Abuja in the names of proxies.

The ICPC boss stressed that the National Security Agency (NSA) and ICPC investigations and research on the issue of insecurity had shown that public sector corruption contributed to insecurity.

He said, “Some former military and security personnel are being investigated by the ICPC and our sister agency (the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) for embezzlement of funds allocated to security.

“For example, a former head of one of the arms of the military, in the twilight of his tenure, deposited the sum of N4bn from military budget into the accounts of two companies where he is the beneficial owner and sole signatory.

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“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.

“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 the Federal Government and the rest left to the suspect.

“While the commission has filed a notice of appeal, this strange development aggravates an already bad situation and escalates insecurity and impunity,” he said.

He noted that cases of job racketeering were rife in the security sector and were under ICPC investigations.

The chairman stressed that such cases of corruption were major contributory factors to insecurity in Nigeria.

Owosanoye also mentioned the involvement of civil servants in the theft of funds meant for security operations.

“Another case under investigation is theft of part of special intervention fund approved for security operations by some civil servants in the line ministry who transferred about N1bn to four shell companies.

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“A special investigative team under the leadership of the NSA and the ICPC recovered some of the diverted assets, including a 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 revealed 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,” he said.

 

 

 

Author profile

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: umustapha@icirnigeria.com. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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