Fraud suspect and member of Presidential Arms Procurement Committee, Air Commodore Mohammed Umar (rtd.) has been alleged to have provided a whopping N40m and paid same to the agents of family of a former minister as rent for a property he hired for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), METROWATCH has learnt. This translates to a sum of N20m as rent per annum and the acting chairman of the agency, Ibrahim Magu, lives there currently.
Further investigation by this newspaper showed that even though the N40m was recorded as the total rent allegedly paid for the EFCC’s accommodation, what actually got to the owners of the property was N38m for the two-year period under review. It was not clear at press time who pocketed the N4m differential from the deal.
It was also gathered that the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) in its bid to provide a befitting comfort for the EFCC’s acting chair, allegedly paid Africa Energy, a company owned by the same Umar, to furnish the property at a staggering sum of N43m.
The property, located in highbrow Maitama Area of Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital, belonged to the late former Director-General of National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Prof. Dora Akunyili.
The late Akunyili was later appointed minister of information by the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua administration.
A member of a group of an Abuja-based non-partisan private sector professionals, who said the group mobilized both material and human resources for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s the presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, for 2015 Presidential election, Peter Dauda, told METROWATCH that he has been in pains over the presence of “people like Umar” in Buhari administration and the damage they have wrought on the image of the President.
Dauda expressed disgust over the alleged involvement of the FCDA in providing accommodation for the EFCC, saying the development was more puzzling to him because the contract to Africa Energy was given by an agency in a Government where the President is known to have frowned at/and rebuked his ministers for requesting N20m each to secure accommodation and furnish them.
He said: “It’s shocking that the man spearheading the anti-corruption crusade of the government will be involved in such a venture. More surprising is the involvement of FCDA in renting a house for EFCC and under what arrangement?
The EFCC’s spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, for three days, ignored calls to his phone on the matter. He did not also respond to text message to his phone requesting his reaction to the allegation.
This newspaper, desirous of an EFCC response, also spoke to persons close to Uwujaren to prevail on him to return our call or respond to the sms send to his phone.
Another senior EFCC member of staff and the agency’s spokesman under former Chairman Nuhu Ribadu, Osita Nwajah, told METROWATCH on two occasions that he was no longer in position to speak to such matters and advised that Uwujaren should be reached.
But when told that calls and text messages to Uwujaren from METROWATCH had been rebuffed, he simply said: “…my brother he is the one that is to talk to you on this matter.”
It would be recalled that Umar was arrested last week as operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) raided his Abuja home.
Those familiar with the matter said before moving against the retired officer, the Director General of the SSS, Lawal Daura, met with Mr. Buhari where he tabled reports suggesting that the panel member had been busy using the name of the president and other top officials of the administration to intimidate, extort and blackmail individuals and businesses.
The president became worried and jittery when he was confronted with the way a man he trusted had been behaving,” a presidency source said. “So he ordered that he should be picked up while the allegations against him are thoroughly investigated.”
Security sources told this newspaper that documents seized from Mr. Umar’s residence during a raid on June 19 included classified documents from the president’s office, details of government transactions from the Central Bank of Nigeria, and details of bank transactions belonging to the Office of the National Security Adviser.
A document containing details of disbursements made to the Nigerian armed forces and security agencies was also recovered during the raid.
Mr. Umar retired as an air commodore in the Nigerian Air Force in January 2014. While in service, he headed the Air Force’s Holding Company as well as the Air Force Properties Limited.
*Backgrounding material, courtesy: Premium Times