Brigadier General Jafaru Mohammed has been revealed as the top military officer fingered in the latest seizure by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Though the commission did not give the name of the officer, findings by Peoples Gazette has linked the forfeiture to Mr Mohammed.
Mr Mohammed, currently the Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), was appointed by the EFCC in 2017 under Ibrahim Magu to take charge of the finances of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, after N13 billion belonging to the spy agency was found in a Lagos apartment.
The commission had at that time taken charge of bank accounts operated by Nigeria’s foreign intelligence service.
The recovered loot, made of $43.5 million, £27,800 and N23.2 million, was found hidden inside Apartment 7B at Osborne Towers, Ikoyi by operatives of the EFCC on April 12.
Then director general of the NIA, Ayodele Oke, had admitted to Premium Times that the money belonged to his agency. Mr Oke was later suspended from office.
The report noted that operatives of the commission, under Ibrahim Magu, compelled the director of Finance and Administration of the NIA to transfer the accounts to Mr Mohammed, an army official attached to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
The commission then appointed Mr Jafaru Mohammed to assume the position of the Director of Finance of the NIA and commence an audit of the agency’s finances.
The report noted multiple attempts to impose Mr Mohammed on the NIA as its new Director of Finance, but officials of the agency blocked him from resuming each time.
In February 2021, Abdulrasheed Bawa was named as the new EFCC chairman to replace Mr Magu. In March, the anti-graft body obtained an interim forfeiture order from the Federal High Court in Abuja in respect of some properties allegedly belonging to National Security Adviser Mohammed Babagana Mungono but held in a proxy.
Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/007/2021 ordered the interim forfeiture of eight properties linked to Mr Mohammed, as part of a wider probe into the finances of the Office of the NSA.
The assets listed included House on Plot 7, God’s Own Estate, Road 1, Wamna District, Abuja; a fenced plot at No 1 Jubril Aminu Crescent, Katampe Extension, Abuja; plot at Kubwa Express, Directly opposite Abuja Model City Gate, Abuja; and a house on Block SD 22 House 2, Road 5, Kabusa Garden Estate, Abuja.
Others are No 15, 21 Crescent, 2nd Avenue, Gwarinpa Estate, Abuja; No 3 Liverpool Close, Sun City Estate, Abuja; No 52 Mainstreet, Sun City Estate, Abuja; and No 25 Osaka Street, Sun City Estate, Abuja.
The EFCC said it acted on intelligence that a serving top military officer was in the habit of acquiring high-profile properties and had floated companies that owned similar assets.
The commission also stated in the court document that Mr Mohammed had earned not more than N73.4 billion since his enlistment in the Nigerian Army in 1993, and could not have been able to legitimately acquire those properties.
In response, Mr Mohammed had declared that his trial for alleged conspiracy, stealing and money laundering by the anti-graft agency was a personal vendetta.
EFCC spokesperson Wilson Ujuwaren declined to comment on the agency’s ties to Mr Mohammed, insisting that he would not disclose other information beyond what was contained in court documents.