By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Mr Bello Buhari, an Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) investigative officer, has given a scene by scene account of how his agency was able to unmask the alleged fake army general, Bolarinwa Oluwasegun.
Buhari painted the picture of who Oluwasegun is, while testifing before an Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos.
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The witness, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, disclosed that six guns and four cars were recovered from the home of the defendant when he was arrested.
He said that EFCC received a petition from the chamber of Chief Abdulahi Tony Daniel sometime in November 2021 and the investigating team immediately swung into action by carrying out surveillance activities which led to the arrest of the defendant on January 12.
“Attached to the petition was a letter purportedly signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, addressed to the defendant for an appointment addressed to the defendant and also Certificate of Confirmation as the new incoming Chief of Army Staff and invitation for inauguration as COAS all sent to the complainant, Safiu Dele via WhatsApp.
“We further gathered intelligence through surveillance and on Jan 12, the defendant was arrested at his residence in Alagbado, Lagos.
“In the course of the search, several items were recovered from his house, including six pump action guns, three cartridge bullets, a swagger stick, a military ID card with the passport photo of the defendant and his name as General Bolarinwa and several forged documents were recovered from him with several photographs of him in military uniform.
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“We recovered from his home one Hilux, one Range Rover, a land cruiser and one other vehicle with OBJ1 as its number plate,” he said.
The witness further said that the investigative team wrote to relevant authorities including the State House and Defence Headquarters to ascertain the genuineness of the documents.
He said letters of investigation activities were also written to First Bank of Nigeria Plc, where the account of the defendant was domiciled, as well as Zenith Bank and UBA where the accounts of the complainant were domiciled.
The prosecution tendered a letter of investigation activities written to the Chief of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff, the State House, as well as their responses and were admitted into evidence.
“Several other items found in his house include Five photographs in which he was wearing army uniform posing as a General, photographs of him posing with other military officers, photographs of him in mufti, photo of the late Sani Abacha and late MKO Abiola and an ID card of the Nigerian Army with the defendant’s photo as Brigadier General Abiodun Bolarinwa with July 15 as expiry date.
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The photographs and the ID card we’re also admitted into evidence.
The witness told the Court that the response from the Nigeria Army Headquarters indicated that the defendant was not a military officer as he posed to be.
“Available record in the Nigerian Army revealed that there is no serving or retired officer bearing the name Brigadier General Abiodun Bolarinwa and the number on the ID card, N/30779 does not exist in the Nigerian Army database.
“Additionally, the name Oluwasegun Bolarinwa Hassan, does not exist in the Nigerian Army database.
“In view of the foregoing, the two persons in question are not personnel of the Nigerian Army.
“The defendant was confronted with the ID card and he confessed that he forged it.
The court also admitted into evidence the defendant’s statement which was made to the EFCC investigators in the presence of his lawyer during the course of investigation.
The witness further testified that the responses from the CDS, COAS and Chief of Staff, indicated that the said letter of appointment as COAS did not emanate from the Presidency, same with the Certificate of Confirmation and purported inauguration invitation card”.
The witness also testified that investigation showed several transfers from the complainant to the bank account of the defendant.
He also confirmed that the defendant effected a change of name on the account from Hassan Kareem Ayinde to Olusegun Abiodun Bolarinwa.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until June 2 for continuation of trial.