The immediate past Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsudeen, have lost 10 choice houses and plots to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), at least for now.
The agency believes the properties were acquired by father and son with stolen public funds. They include three plots of land with development at various stages of completion at No 54 Mike Akhigbe Way, Jabi, Abuja; Plot 2276 Sunrise Estate, Asokoro, Abuja and Plot 1804 Damaturu Crescent, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Garki 11, Abuja; Nos. 1 and 3, Marian Street, Asokoro, Abuja and a twin plaza at Wuse Zone 3 by Tamarak Guest Inn, Abuja.
The rest are: No. 7 Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja; an estate and plaza at Dawaki, opposite Gwarinpa, Abuja; an Estate at Jahi District, Abuja; three number duplex Abuja Investment Company Limited Estate, Abuja and a shop at Dubai Market, Kaura District, Abuja.
“The seizure of the first three properties is on the strength of an interim forfeiture order by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja which temporarily forfeited the properties to the federal government pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of criminal charges against the suspect,” the Head of Media and Publicityof the anti-graft Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said yesterday.
“The court also gives the Commission power to appoint competent persons/firm to
manage the assets/properties listed. “The rest properties were confiscated on the strength of the order by Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court, Abuja which forfeited the assets to the federal government pending the conclusion of investigation and determination of the criminal charges against the suspects.” He said the court also forbids “any disposal, conveyance, mortgage, lease, sale or alienation or otherwise of the property/assets.”
The EFCC plans to arraign the ex- Minister in court any moment from now to face trial for alleged corruption. It was gathered yesterday that the EFCC has gone far in its investigation of the ex-Minister. He said the properties have been placed under temporary forfeiture until the trial of the two persons is concluded.
Senator Bala Mohammed was arrested in connection with alleged N1billion fictitious contracts. He was also questioned on alleged allocation of 12 choice plots to his son running into billions of Naira; 37 other commercial plots of land worth about N8billion to his suspected front and thecontroversial N1trillion Abuja land swap.
A mansion allegedly worth N782million, belonging to the ex-Minister, has been placed under Interim Assets Forfeiture. Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja on February 3, 2017 granted Shamsudeen Bala, bail in the sum of N100million with two sureties who must be private businessmen or public servants of the rank of assistant director and above.
Bala is being prosecuted by theEFCC on a 15-count charge of money laundering to the tune of N1.2 billion. The accused was docked on February 1, 2017, along with four companies – Bird Trust Agro Allied Limited, Intertrans Global Logistic Limited, Diakin Telecommunications Limited and Bal-Vac Mining Nigeria Limited. Bala and Diakin Telecommunications Limited were accused of making cash payment of the sum of N74, 244,005 (seventy-four million, two hundred and forty-four thousand, five naira) to Abuja Investment Company Ltd without going through a financial institution.
The offence was said to be in breach of Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012). On arraignment, he pleaded not guilty to the charge. One of the counts said: “That you, Shamsudeen Bala (alias Shamsudeen Mohammed Bala), Bird Trust Agro Allied Ltd and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd sometime in 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did without going through a financial institution make cash payment of the sum of N296,000,000 (two hundred and ninety six million naira) only to A & K Constructions Ltd Abuja and Sunrise Estate Development Ltd for Construction of a house on plot nos 2116 and 2276 at Asokoro Gardens (alias Sunrise Estate) Abuja, which sum exceeded the statutory limit and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended in 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) and (4) of the same Act.”
The trial of the ex-minister’s son is to commence on March 27, 2017.