By Our Correspondent
When the ousted clueless President Goodluck Jonathan held sway, exposing or reporting cases of corrupt practices or stealing of public funds against any of his disciples was an offence. In other words, from the top to bottom the system was rotten. Majority of those that served that unfortunate administration are culpable of the sins of corrupt practices and misappropriation of the nation’s common patrimony.
As Jonathan allowed the cancer of corruption to devastate the Nigerian system and deprived majority of the people accessibility to the commonwealth, he made no effort to tackle the cankerworm and instead, he was busy dishing out lies to those that had the patient to listen but not to believe. Nigerians resorted to prayers for change believing that one day the Almighty would send a Pharoah that does not know Joseph who will cleanse the debris of corruption. President Buhari is that Joseph to Nigerians today.
In a bid to bring top officials of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to answer various allegations of fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, African League Organization, ALO through its solicitors, ST GILES SOLICITORS, had dispatched a petition to the presidency bordering on several cases of corruption, abuse of office and money laundering involving one Eric Anyamene (sacked SA Projects) to Senator Bala Muhammed believed to be a launderer of repute who was once convicted by an American Court for battery.
In its petition, ALO described corrupt practices under Bala Muhammed as monumental, unimaginable and a clog in the wheel of national progress that stagnated development of the FCT with a protective cover from Dame Patience Jonathan, a like mind.
The NGO requested President Buhari to appoint a high-powered investigative committee of experts to unearth the several scandals that rocked the FCDA during the tenure of Bala Muhammed including cases of money laundering, haphazard employment and land racketing that was the style of his administration.
According to the NGO, Bala should account for the petty contracts worth N250million awarded to fictitious companies in 2010 after his appointment as a cabinet minister with the total sum diverted to private pockets.
The petitioners added that in 2011, they had cause to send a petition to the then Senate President David Mark who turned a blind eye and pretended as if all was well without an effort to investigate the scandal.
“Senator David Mark acted as a partner in crime instead of an upright leader as expected. It was alleged that Mark had cornered several plots at Ministers Hill and other choice areas in the FCT that could not give him the courage to investigate a fellow accomplice exposed. He also had a vested interest in the FCT administration as his own blood daughter was serving as an equivalent of a commissioner in the administration headed by Bala and his younger brother, a Lieutenant- Colonel served as a board member of the FCDA at the same period”.
The petition which was signed by Barrister G. Ugwuneze on behalf of the NGO, stated that, “We may through this medium bring to your knowledge Mr. President the high level and sophisticated corruption and fraudulent activities of the sacked FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammed, Directory Treasury, Ibrahim Muhammed Bomoi and the Chief Procurement Officer of FCDA, Idris Musa.
“Information at our disposal and subsequent findings through a petition to the office of the Inspector-General of Police vide FCID revealed syndicated sharp corrupt practices inimical to your standpoint on zero-tolerance for corruption. The level of corruption in the FCDA under Senator Bala Muhammed has been a topical issue of discourse and concern to every Nigerian desirous for change. Hush and hurried contracts were awarded in utter disregard to due process as prevalent provisions of the Bureau for Public Procurement Acts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as applicable to contracts tendering, contract bid process, associated time-line, contract award and tranches of payment were thrown to the winds without due consideration to the provisions of the Law in that respect”.
The petitioners further added that contracts awarded on internal memoranda alleged to have originated from the Chief Procurement Officer, Idris Musa and the Director Treasury, Ibrahim Muhammed Bomoi for the procurement of office furniture and equipment were respectively on four distinct versions awarded to Messrs Zenith Meridian Nigeria Limited to the tune of N35million, N49.5million, N46.940million and N50million respectively. The said contracts were hurriedly approved by the sacked minister accompanied with a directive of accelerated payment on November 30, 2010.
It was stated that there were no evidences or traces of prescribed electronic payment to the company’s Bank Account anywhere or Value-Added-Tax deduction or reflection of such transaction on the Federal Inland Revenue Service Corporation taxation filing form as stipulated in the Federal Government Policy.
“A whooping N25million contract was hurriedly awarded to a crony of the minister, SIOUX ENERGIES LIMITED to procure same office furniture and equipment in an orchestrated bid on December 13, 2010 without due process, with a submitted request for payment approval from the Chief Procurement Officer and the Director Treasury to the minister who on same December 14, 2010 gave the payment approval and was cashed as well”.
Desert Herald investigation revealed that Zenith Meridian Nigeria Limited that was used in withdrawing the sum of N49.50million on December 20, 2010 arising from a non-existent bid opening of December 17, 2010, VERAB NIGERIA LIMITED also in the same vein was used by those officials to siphon the sum of N49million purporting to have opened a bid on January 17, 2011 from the Minister on same office furniture and equipment.
Five (5) Toyota Hilux (4X4) Shell Spec 2.7 litres petrol engine that were never supplied but fraudulently documented for payment to TOP EXCEPTIONAL DIAMOND LIMITED and payment to the tune of N250million was fraudulently made.
Besides allegations of fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation with impunity, Senator Bala Muhammed is suspected of engaging in land racketing, especially the Mass Housing Scheme, allocating such plots of land in juicy areas to his fronts, cronies and associates. Such plots cost between N500 – N1billion depending on location, demand and market value.
Senator Bala Muhammed is also alleged to have misused the powers conferred on him as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and closeness to the presidency to annex Area Council plots of land continuously in certified juicy areas contrary to the original Master Plan of the FCT.
“For instance at Lugbe, Kugo and Kuruduma within the Abuja Municipal Area Council of the FCT lands were massively annexed and sold out to the highest bidders through fronts.
There are no approvals for Area Council lands coupled with the challenges of no infrastructural development which created high demand for land in the city centre thereby increasing rural – urban migration which was a deliberate action”.
The petitioners stated that to strategize his penchant for corruption and accumulation of filthy wealth, the sacked Minister hurriedly posted out one Isa Jalo, Head of Abuja Geographical Information System (AGIS) believed to be a professional in the field with one Jamila Tangaza who woefully failed to even manage the media unit of the FCDA professionally despite claims of having worked in an international radio station in London. The appointment of Tangaza was a smart way of perfecting his illicit biddings with ease and was responsible for the flourishing land racketing that was synonymous with FCDA.
Senator Bala Muhammed in connivance with Ibrahim Bomoi, Director Treasury misappropriated public fund accruing from hawking permits, rents from shops, land rates and other taxes that should be thoroughly probed while Eric Anyamene suspected to be a reputable money launderer that was offered an appointment as Special Adviser to the Minister on Special Projects should be grilled to release the needed information on the roles he played to launder stolen money for Senator Bala Muhammed under the guise of a Special Adviser on Special projects.
A finding revealed that to have an ease for an escape route in case of an eventuality the FCDA Director of Treasury, Ibrahim Bomoi made effort to plant an agent who is his blood relation in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to primarily intercept petitions on their various scandals and in most cases destroy the petitions at a fee through connivance before action is made.
In a related development, the sacked Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim is accused of tricking the former president, Goodluck Jonathan to unilaterally acquire the multi-billion-dollar Centenary City on Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Road, Abuja possibly with the knowledge and connivance of the sacked FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammed who readily provided the 1,500 hectares of land for the now controversial project.
Anyim was accused by a PDP chieftain and former chairman of the Nigeria Export Processing Zonal Authority (NEPZA), Dr. Cairo Ojougboh who appealed to President Buhari to probe transactions relating to the controversial Centenary City.
The whistle blower described the project as a scam perpetrated by a United Arab Emirates company that is fronting for the embattled former SGF.
“I am calling on President Buhari to revisit the centenary city project and he will be shocked that the project is owned by a private individual but procured with government funds. The original landlords demanded for compensation from the Federal Government but the sponsors of the project used a private firm to pay them the sum of N1.2billion. He asked: Where did they source that money?”.
In his suspected defence of shame, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim had rushed to an Abuja High Court seeking protection and possible escape from President Buhari’s searchlight. The case is pending in the Court.