Stolen N400m: GOC, finance officer to face court martial

The former General Officer Commanding (GOC) a division of the Nigerian Army in North West may be arraigned before a General Court Martial (GCM) any moment from now over N400 million stolen by soldiers escorting the fund. Also in custody at the SIB office is the finance officer of the division.

Daily Sun gathered that the army headquarters had already alerted its department of legal services to prepare charges against the accused senior officers as soon as investigation is concluded.

The former GOC, who is currently in custody at the headquarters of the Special Investigations Bureau (SIB), located inside the Shehu Yar’Adua Barracks, Abuja, is said to be cooperating with investigators handling the matter.  Military sources revealed that the officers were brought to Abuja late Monday night under tight security.

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It was gathered that army authorities yet to track the soldiers escorting the money, who eventually disappeared with it.

Meanwhile, the army, which has been keeping mum since the incident, spoke for the first time on Tuesday when journalists ambushed the director, Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachuku.

Nwachuku, in response to a question on the stolen money, said: “Investigation is underway to find out what happened and how it happened.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday resolved to probe the circumstances surrounding the alleged theft of millions of naira by five soldiers.

The House also resolved to set up an Ad hoc committee to undertake the assignment. The committee is expected to report back to the House within four weeks.

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This is sequel to the adoption of a motion by Abubakar Nalarabe, calling on the House to investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged theft.

Nalarabe, in his lead debate, noted that an investigation into the matter is imperative, following the admission of the Army’s spokesperson, Sagir Musa, that its personnel fled with money belonging to a very important personality the soldiers were detailed to escort.

According to him, the Nigeria Army had in a press release signed by Musa, the acting director of army public relations on July 15   confirmed the incident.

The lawmaker noted the soldiers, according to Musa, are with Operation Harbin Kunama III based in Sokoto, and were detailed on  “July 11, at about 1500 hours (3pm) to escort a VIP with a large amount of cash to kaduna, a distance of about 400 kilometers…On arrival at the Nigeria Army Airstrip in Jaji the five personnel connived and allegedly disposed the VIP of the cash and absconded.”

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Nalarabe further said: “The statement though admitting the incidence, refuted the exact amount carted away by the soldiers and also claimed ignorance of the exact amount, exonerating the 8 Division of the Nigeria Army.

“The Nigeria Army constituted a high power committee to holistically, thoroughly and decisively investigate the sad incident for record and posterity. And reported to all Nigeria Army formations and units and the general public for awareness and possible arrest of the culprits.”

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