The unnamed “top military officer” whose assets worth N10.9 billion was recently forfeited to the Nigerian government, has been revealed in a court document as Aminu Kano Maude, a deceased army general.
The court document removed the ambiguity of the assets to an unnamed “top military officer” in the two statements the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since issued on the forfeiture of the properties.
Maude, who hailed from Kano, served in the army finance corps and died in November 2019.
In what has been criticized as the EFCC’s undue concealment of the identity of the actual person behind the acquisition of the assets, the commission had said in a statement on Monday that they were seized from “a top military officer”.
The anti-graft agency’s follow-up statement on the following day – February 15 – completely excluded Maude’s name while maintaining that the assets were being “held by fronts and proxies to a top military officer”.
The second statement which provided a list of 24 assets covered by the final forfeiture order obtained by the commission from the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, also raised the worth of the assets up from the about N3 billion indicated in the previous statement to N10.9 billion.
But both statements signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, diverted attention away from Maude as the central figure in the alleged fraudulent acquisition of the assets.
A copy of the earlier order issued by the Federal High Court judge, Nkeoye Maha, on May 13, 2020, for an interim forfeiture of the assets, however, explicitly linked the assets to Maude’s suspected unlawful activity.
The court order with the same title as provided by the EFCC in its application for the interim forfeiture order, says, ‘In the matter of the ex-parte application by the Executive Chairman of the EFCC for interim forfeiture of order in respect of some assets situate in different parts of Nigeria, suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity traced to one General Maude Aminu Kano (rtd) (a public officer) and his proxies both bodies and individuals”.
She further invited any person with justifiable grounds to oppose the issuance of an order for the final forfeiture of the assets to the federal government to appear in court to show cause.
Ms Maha also ordered the EFCC to file a certificate of compliance concerning the advertisement of the interim order not later than seven days.
On February 14, EFCC announced in a statement that the court had issued an order of final forfeiture of the 24 assets valued at N10.9 billion.
The list of the forfeited properties contained landed properties located in different parts of Kano, Katsina, Calabar (Cross River State) and Kaduna.
Among them are nine filling stations scattered in Kano with a total of 300 pumps.
They also included filling stations, Event Centres, Plazas, Block Industries, Truck Assembly Plant, Polythene Production factory and table water factory.
EFCC failure to mentioned name has psychological effect in the fight against corruption- GROUP
An organization, Coalition for Truth and Justice, on Friday, expressed worries over the seeming identity concealment posturing of the EFCC in its statements on its latest major assets forfeiture efforts.
”We are also alarmed that the EFFC, either by omission or commission, elected to be clever by half. But they failed to realize that their actions have the tendency to affect the psychological state of those in the trenches fighting and sacrificing themselves for the country.
”The EFCC must tell the truth to the country regarding the identity of the military officer who was able to amass properties worth billions of naira,” the National Coordinator of the group, Timothy Charles, said in a statement.
Charles said the EFCC “is economical with the truth”, adding that “the blanket use of “military officer” is deceptive, mischievous, and a mockery of the anti-corruption crusade of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.”