The Nigerian Army has denied allegations that the former Group Managing Director, Nigerian Army Properties Limited, Maj. Gen. Umaru Mohammed, is being persecuted.
The service said the General, who is currently being court-martialed, was indicted by a military police investigation and recommended for trial.
A statement on Sunday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, said the General was being tried for offences bordering on forgery and misappropriation of funds.
The statement partly read, “It is expedient to clear the air on the despicably false report and calculated attempt to cast aspersions on the ongoing court martial, which has already progressed to an advanced stage, as the prosecution has put forward the evidence against General Mohammed and closed its case. The accused senior officer has opened his defence and is testifying as Defence Witness One.
“For the avoidance of doubts, without being sub-judicial, the former GMD NAPL is facing trial in relation to alleged offences of theft of various sums of money belonging to NAPL and forgery.”
The military spokesman said the offences were punishable under the provisions of extant penal laws in Nigeria, adding that the trial was to recover the looted fund.
“To set the records straight, upon investigation and indictment of the accused senior officer by military police investigations, the Army Headquarters convened a Special Court Martial to try the senior officer as a procedure to legally recover the sums of money he allegedly fraudulently acquired from the coffers of NAPL during his tenure as GMD.
“The details of the outcome of the Court Martial will be provided at the end of the Court Martial proceedings. “It is factual that Maj Gen UM Mohammed ought to have proceeded on retirement, however, provisions of the Armed Forces Act (specifically Section 169) permit the retention in service of such personnel, who has pending disciplinary case(s) to allow extant legal processes.”
Onyema also said the General was not committed to bail as a result of the huge amount he was accused of looting.
He said, “He is currently being detained at a military location purpose-built for such detention, where the rights and well-being of such detainees are given prime consideration. Though at the onset of the trial, Maj Gen Mohammed requested to be granted bail inter-alia on health grounds, the court, in considering the bail application, took cognisance of the humongous amount of monies allegedly stolen in the indictment, which could encourage the accused senior officer to abscond.
“The court, therefore, declined the bail application. The court, however, granted visitation rights to some family members, including his two wives, son, daughter, and brother as requested by the accused officer.”