Former Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai has been enmeshed in fresh scandal after operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) allegedly recovered over N1.89 billion from a house and office which belong to him in Abuja.
According to reports, ICPC officials stormed the house located in Wuse area, beside the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Campus in Abuja last week after it received a tip-off from a whistleblower.
It was gathered that the huge cash uncovered was part of the billions of naira earmarked for the purchase of arms and ammunition by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Sahara Reporters reported that an anonymous source stated; “Last week Thursday, ICPC officials stormed a house in Wuse area of Abuja, beside National Open University and arrested a man, Kabiru Salisu after they saw N850 million cash in the house.
“He claimed the money belonged to Tukur Buratai who was in Cotonou at that time. “Officials of the ICPC took him to an office where another N1billion in cash was also discovered. Also, bulletproof cars, BMW, G-Wagon worth N450m were recovered.”
“Serious pressure is being mounted to claim money found was only N30m,” another source said.
Efforts to speak to a spokesman for the ICPC proved abortive as of press time.
However, when contacted on the allegation, Buratai, who is the Nigerian ambassador to the Benin Republic, said the anti-graft office had no warrant to search his property, according to The Peoples Gazette “Nobody obtained any warrants to search my place,” Mr Buratai said by telephone. He abruptly disconnected the call when asked whether or not he was confirming the raid and cash recovery from his property — and did not answer subsequent attempts.
Buratai who served as the Army Chief of Staff of Nigeria between 2015 to 2021 was in 2016 enmeshed in asset declaration scandal after evidence emerged that he owned property in Dubai.
The Nigerian Army later agreed that Buratai owned the alleged property in Dubai but said they were legal and he declared them in his asset declaration form.
“It is a fact that the Buratai family have two properties in Dubai that were paid for instalmentally through personal savings three years ago,” the army spokesperson Sani Usman said.
“This, along with other personal asset have consistently been declared by General Buratai in his Asset Declaration Form as Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Commander and as Chief of Army Staff,” he stated.
Similarly, in March 2021, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno revealed that funds running into billions of naira meant for the procurement of arms and ammunition under the past service chiefs were unaccounted for.
His revelation came a few months after President Buhari replaced Buratai and other service chiefs.
Others were former Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonishakin; Chief of Air Staff, Abubakar Sadique and Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas.
According to Monguno, neither the money nor the arms were on the ground upon the resumption of the new service chiefs.