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N35m scam: Army Court Martial begins sitting today

Posted by By Kingsley Omonobi on 2005/07/18 | Views: 339 |

N35m scam: Army Court Martial begins sitting today


A military court martial convened by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia, to unravel how the former Director of Peace-keeping, at the Defence headquarters, Brig-gen. Joseph Abdullahi, single-handedly raised, cashed and siphoned a cheque of N35million soldiers money, begins sitting today (Monday) in Abuja.

ABUJA—A military court martial convened by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia, to unravel how the former Director of Peace-keeping, at the Defence headquarters, Brig-gen. Joseph Abdullahi, single-handedly raised, cashed and siphoned a cheque of N35million soldiers money, begins sitting today (Monday) in Abuja.

The N35million said to be money earmarked for troops rotation at the United Nations Peace-keeping mission in Sierra Leone, is alleged to have been cashed by General Abdullahi and paid into a private account after receiving assistance from Ministry of Defence as well as Central Bank of Nigeria officials.

Consequently, the Court Martial headed by Maj-general Atambi has invited top CBN officials especially those in the department of foreign currency operations and Ministry of Defence officials, to appear before it and say all they know about the fraud.

Dependable sources told Vanguard that the Court Martial was instituted after a Board of Inquiry (BOI), also set up by the CDS investigated and confirmed the fraud.

According to the source, during investigations by the BOI, the former Director claimed that after he collected the money, he paid the sum of N4million into the account of a retired Maj-general (names withheld) in order for him to keep silent, an allegation the retired general denied.

Vanguard’s investigation revealed that the money was supposed to be collected by a joint team of Defence headquarters and Army headquarters finance officers from the CBN after necessary approvals by the Ministry of Finance.

But General Abdullahi using his contacts at the Ministry of Defence, Finance and CBN, was said to have collected and cashed the cheque without the knowledge of his superiors at DHQ and AHQ and lodged it into his account.

When soldiers started complaining that they were overdue for rotation, General Ogomudia was said to have called the Finance ministry officials to find out why the money was not forthcoming, only to learn that the money has been collected.

Shocked by the disclosure, the CDS called the Director of Army Finance and Accounts, a Maj-general, who said Brig-general Abdullahi, at a point came to him with the sum of N26million cash, saying it was rotation money and that he refused taking the money advising him to go and follow due process and get authorization. Aside that, the Army finance director was said to have told Abdullahi that, they don’t accept cash in such large quantity at Army Finance.

Having convinced him of the fraud, General Ogomudia was said to have moved to the Commander in Chief, where he presented the matter and got President Obasanjo’s approval to institute the Court Martial.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.