Litmus test tor Buhari’s anti-graft war as CCB contradicts Army on Gen. Buratai’s Dubai property

Posted by Harun Elbinawi | 15 July 2016 | 3,965 times

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On June 29, 2016, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu of St Francis Xavier Solicitors and Advocates, Abuja, wrote to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), requesting information on the Dubai property of the Chief of Staff Nigerian Army, Lt-Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, “pursuant to section 1 and 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.”

The letter read: “We request that the CCB, pursuant to the FoI Act 2011, avail us the following, concerning the declarations of Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai.

“For the purpose of clarity, sir, we request you as follows: (1) Confirm if Gen Tukur Buratai declared his asset with you upon his appointment on July 13, 2015, as Chief of Army Staff; (2) whether the above property he bought with his wife was also declared with the CCB.

“Kindly avail us a reply within the time allowed under the Freedom of Information Act 2011 as much as you can, sir.”

The CCB replied to the above request in a July 11th, 2016 letter by Mrs Ijeanuli Arinze-Ofor to Mr Osuagwu of St Francis Xavier Solicitors and Advocates, stating:

“We refer to your mail dated Jun 29, 2016. We wish to state here that Gen Tukar Yusuf Buratai, after his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff, declared his assets as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“He was served the Form CCB-I on July 21, 2015, and returned same on August 21, 2015.

We also wish to confirm that his property at Dubai was declared in the wife’s name. Please, accept the warmest regards of the chairman.”

On July 13, 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Buratai as Chief of Army Staff. Nigerian newspapers and websites are awash with the report that Buratai and his two wives in 2013 paid 1,498,534.00 AED (N120 million/ $419,000) for a Dubai property; Project TFG Marina Hotel, unit 2711. Sale documents indicated that the property was handed over to the Buratais on January 13, 2013, prior to his appointment as the Chief of Army Staff. Buratai also paid for a second Dubai property in mid-2015. The second property was handed over to him after his appointment as Nigerian Army Chief.

The information given by the Code of Conduct Bureau and that of the Nigerian army spokesman in defense of Buratai are contradictory. The CCB stated that the Dubai property was declared by Buratai in the name of his wife; implying that his wife is the owner of the Dubai houses. On their part, Nigerian Army spokesman declared that the properties belonged to Buratai, who bought them from ‘personal savings’. That prompted Nigerian activists to declare Buratai as the “greatest saver and financial manager of all time!” One civil society activist even suggested to President Buhari to appoint Buratai as the “Minister of Finance” , so that he can prudently manage our country's resources.

Prominent Nigerians and activists are calling on President Buhari and the Nigerian anti-corruption agencies to commence investigation of the Nigerian Army Chief, as to the true source of his wealth that was used to buy choice properties in Nigeria and Dubai. A very important question after the disclosure by the CCB is: What is the occupation of Buratai's wife that enabled  her to raise $1.5 million to buy choice properties in Dubai?

The embattled Nigerian Army Chief has not been silent. He has been sponsoring articles and write-ups not only to defend him but to cast doubts on the patriotic stands and good intentions of his critics. He called then all sorts of derogatory names such as ‘Boko Haram sponsors’, ‘enemies of Nigeria’, ‘enemies of progress’, ‘Iranian-sponsored’. The most recent name-calling is by the fictitious writer, Anthony Bankole, who called those prominent Nigerians who are rightly calling for probe of Buratai as ‘forces of evil and darkness.’

 Meanwhile, findings have confirmed that while the so-called Anthony Kolawole claimed to be a lecturer with the Nassarawa State University, there is no lecturer bearing that name in Nassarawa State University.

On a final note, the BurataiGate is a litmus test of the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration. It is impossible to convince Nigerians and the world that the anti-corruption war is holistic, when there are sacred cows like Buratai that are untouchable.

•Harun Elbinawi blogs at Elbinawi.WordPress.com. He can be reached via elbinawi@yahoo.com.


Source: News Express

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