Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), has revealed that an ex-military leader stole N4 billion from the military budget and deposited it in the accounts of two companies where he is the beneficial owner and sole signatory.
He also claimed that some of the houses purchased with funds from his service were fraudulently converted for his use, and that proceeds from the plunder were used to purchase homes in Abuja in the names of the military chief’s friends and proxies.
Owasanoye made the announcement on Friday at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja during a “National Policy Dialogue on Corruption and Insecurity in Nigeria.”
In August, SaharaReporters reported that the ICPC had recovered billions of Naira from former Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Buratai (retd.) for the Central Bank.
The ICPC recovered funds (including foreign currencies) from a house registered to someone fronting for Buratai, a military contractor and Managing Director of K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. Kabiru Sallau, exclusively reported SaharaReporters.
In March 2021, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, revealed that billions of naira meant for the procurement of arms and ammunition under previous service chiefs had gone missing.
However, it was unclear whether the ICPC chairman was referring to Buratai in his speech on Friday.
He noted that research and investigations on the issue of insecurity by the National Security Agency and the ICPC had revealed that public sector corruption directly and indirectly enabled insecurity and could sometimes complement it.
He stated, “The ICPC and our sister agency (the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) are investigating some former military and security personnel for embezzlement of security funds.”
“For example, in the waning days of his tenure, a former head of one of the military’s arms deposited 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 buy Abuja real estate in the names of cronies and proxies.” Some of the properties purchased with his service money 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 FGN 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 stated that there are several incidents of employment racketeering in the security industry, and that many of them are being investigated by the ICPC.
Corruption, according to Owasanoye, is a major contributor to the country’s continued existence and propagation of insecurity.
The ICPC chief bemoaned Nigeria’s growing security issues, saying the consequences for the country’s economy and image have continued to worry Nigerians, particularly leaders in the three branches of government and anti-corruption practitioners.