Guilty of Theft: Nigerian General Who Confessed To Stealing For Ex-Army Chief, Buratai, Has Been Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison

In May, Maj. Gen. Mohammed was being court-martialled in Abuja for allegations bordering on fraud and stealing.

Sources however told SaharaReporters that Mohammed had opened up a can of worms as the senior military officer narrated how former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (retd.) allowed the sale of houses by the Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL) to politicians and Very Important Personalities (VIPs) at a ridiculous 75 per cent discount.

Mohammed is a former ally of Buratai, who spent five years and five months in office. SaharaReporters learnt that he revealed during his cross-examination that the allocation of houses to civilians followed a directive from Buratai.

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Maj. Gen. Umar Muazu Mohammed, who was court-martialed for fraud and found guilty of stealing over $430,000, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The Special Court Martial set up by the Nigerian Army also ordered Maj. Gen. Mohammed to pay back the sum of $2,178,900 and N1.65 billion to the Army properties and NAPL

The Special Court-Martial earlier found Mohammed guilty of 14 out of 18 counts brought against him, which are all contrary to service laws.

The charges included stealing, forgery, conspiracy, theft, and unauthorized diversion of Army property among others and they are all subject to service discipline.

Among the charges was the collection of a sum of $1,045,400 paid by shipping companies for the use of Nigerian Army Jetty located at No 6 Marina, Victoria Island, Lagos

Maj. Gen. Mohammed was also found guilty of the theft of $430,800 being monies paid into the Nigerian Army Domiciliary account at Unity Bank, Abuja for the use of Nigerian Army Jetty, Marina, VI, Lagos

Furthermore, Maj. Gen. Mohammed was found guilty of withdrawing and confiscating the sum of N74 million out of N75 million paid for a property belonging to the Nigerian Army at Ikoyi, Lagos.

He was however found not guilty on allegations that he sold Army property worth N200 million in Lagos as well as stole the sum of N750 million out of N2.5 billion secured from banks as well as contributions from subscribers for Army Housing Estate in Asokoro, Abuja

He was also not found guilty of charges related to the forging of a Deed of Agreement document pursuant to confiscating another Army property in Lagos.

Blogs had exposed how the Nigerian Army secretly detained Mohammed after exposing how he laundered funds for Buratai.

This was despite claims made by the Army headquarters through Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, that the trial was “held in the open” and “not shrouded in secrecy”.

Meanwhile, based on the account of one of the top lawyers at the court-martial, it was revealed that “during a previous court martial sitting that took place recently, Major General A.A. Adesope, a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian Army Properties Limited (NAPL), who spoke as a witness of the Nigerian Army, testified that he spent only 41 days as the GMD of NAPL.”

According to Mohammed, “On March 19, Buratai directed one Lt Col Christy to make payment for the houses allocated to the VVIPs and politicians to Access Bank with account name FCCNAPL and account number 0769911478.”

He continued, “When Adesope took over NAPL and found out about the allocation to the civilians and 75% discount, he quickly made a report to Lt. Gen. Buratai (Rtd) accusing me of misappropriation, without reaching out to me for verification. Gen Buratai now called me to find out how Adesope got to know about the allocation and discount, I told him it was captured in the sales records handed over to Adesope. Buratai became so annoyed and ordered for his posting out as GMD, that was why Adesope spent only 41 days in NAPL.”

A senior military source had added, “From our investigations, the VVIPs and politicians are family and friends of Aisha Buhari who were used as beneficiaries, to receive the houses on her behalf as a gift from Gen Buratai.”

The newspaper had also reported that Maj. Gen. Mohammed, until his arrest and secret detention in the past year, was in charge of the NAPL.

Sources said that Mohammed was being punished at the behest of Buratai with whom he was involved in illegalities and shady dealings, carried out on the orders of the former Army chief while he was in office.

As the officer in charge of NAPL, Mohammed controlled army properties across the country.

While being court-martialled, Mohammed, who had been arrested and held in secret detention since January 2022, confessed that Buratai asked him to pay $730,000 to obtain Saudi Arabia citizenship for him (Buratai) in order to evade justice for the atrocities committed by the army while he was the chief of staff.

Meanwhile, the court-martial had been going on secretly since September 2022.

He was initially arrested for “terrorism financing” to cover up for the real reason behind his ordeal.

Sources also told SaharaReporters that Mohammed told the special court that on the orders of Buratai, he also released funds for trips for the wives of the former Army chief and some military activities like the movement of people when Buhari opened the Nigerian Army University in Biu, Borno State.

It was learnt that Buratai also instructed Mohammed to pay huge sums of money to some Muslim clerics “praying for Buratai’s administration” as Chief of Army Staff at the time.

One of the sources had said, “For instance, the last one he gave evidence and this is in evidence in court that about $700,000 was used. He (Buratai) instructed him to process Saudi Arabia residence permit for him.

“And he was also told to release money to fund the trips of his wives and also fund some military activities like the movement of people when Buhari opened some things in Biu – the Army University and some military activities. That was where he was directing that funds should be released.

“He also gave evidence of how several thousands of dollars he was ordered to release to some mallams (Islamic clerics) whom he said were praying for his administration. They were the ones that will censor any activities that he was going to undertake.

“For instance, the appointment of some persons or posting of some military officers; those ones whose names will be submitted to the mallams to determine in the spirit whether they would be loyal or not. So those things were funded in hundreds of thousands of dollars, he gave this in evidence.

“And then besides several international trips, he would ask the man to give out money. This involved several Generals, even some who were sitting as members of the panel. They also benefited from some of the foreign trips. They were paid hundreds of thousands in estacodes.”

On why Mohammed didn’t say no to certain things as the MD of NAPL, one of the sources said, “If only you know how the military operates; that would amount to insubordination.

“If your boss asks you to do something and then you say no, that is insubordination and that was the reason why he used NAPL to fund personal and official activities in the military.”

Another source said, “In one, Mohammed told us how over N26 million was released to build piggery. What they were doing was directing him to release money. Mind you, they would call him while he was still serving as the MD of NAPL and a military officer.

“You know, in the military, orders are given orally and you do not disobey it. He (Buratai) would call him and ask him to release a certain amount of money. So that is how he was giving instructions and money was being released.”

Culled from Saharareporters