Court Orders Seizure Of 14 Houses Belonging To Former FCT Minister Bala Mohammed

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the interim forfeiture of 14 houses in “choice areas” of Abuja. They are believed to be owned by former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Bala Mohammed and his son, Shamsuddeen.

The judge gave the order yesterday while ruling on an ex-parte application brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Dimgba ordered the EFCC to publish a notice in a newspaper and on the EFCC’s website “inviting all persons/bodies, who may have interest in the properties to show cause why the said properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

The EFCC stated in the ex parte application that Mohammed and his son have denied either owning the properties or having any link with them.

The commission said the preliminary investigation it conducted revealed that the properties listed on the schedule, attached to the application, were unlawfully acquired through corrupt practices by Mohammed and his son, when he was in office as Minister of the FCT.

The properties, according to the EFCC included one “mansion” located at Sunrise Estate, Asokoro; three sets of four-bedroom semi-detached duplex at Green Acres Estate, Apo-Dutse;  two sets of four-bedroom fully detached duplexes each with a boys’ quarters on Gana Street, Maitama, Abuja, close to Transcorps Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The EFCC also listed a four-bedroom detached duplex with boys’ quarter located at 9, Platinum Luxury Home White Estate, Asokoro, Abuja.

From some documents attached to the application by the EFCC, facilities in ?some of properties include “excellent road and drainage network; dedicated transformer; borehole for constant water supply; fitted kitchen, bedroom cabinet and wordrobes; ample parking space; and children playing ground”.

The rest of the properties are plots of land in six different locations in Abuja. They include the one located at Karasana West, Abuja, measuring 84,657.30m2; Industrial Area 1 Extension, Abuja, measuring 1.45Ha; and Guzape, Abuja measuring 2.7Ha.

Others were located at Industrial Area 1 Extension, Abuja, measuring 1.26Ha; Karasana West, Abuja measuring 64,507m2; and Dakibiyu, Abuja measuring 1,251.15m2.

Before yesterday’s order, the EFCC had previously seized some properties from Mohammed and his son, who are both being tried in separate courts in Abuja. Mohammed is being tried before a High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT), while his son is on trial before Justice Dimgba.

The EFCC stated in an affidavit supporting its ex-parte application that “the crux of the application is that the respondents are being investigated for offences bordering on abuse of office, fraudulent land scams, corruption and corrupt practices, money laundering an?d diversion of revenue of government while being the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”.

It also stated that the properties traced to the father and son were “reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and crimes, kept and concealed in the names and proxies and nominees of the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohmmed, and his son, Shamsuddeen Bala Mohammed and for their benefit have been recovered and seized”.

The EFCC said the properties were held in the names of different companies and one Maimuna S. Aliyu.The commission described Aliyu as Bala’s proxy allegedly used to the houses 1A and 2A of No. 7 Gana Street Maitama, Abuja.

The companies in whose names some of the properties were said to be held are Intertrans Global Logistics/Bird Trust Agloallied Limited, Gal Vac Mining Limited, and Diakin Telecommunication Limited.

Giving the details of its investigation, the EFCC maintained that the former minister and his sons are the owners of the of Diakin Telecommunications Ltd, Bal-Vac Mining Ltd, Bird Trust Nig Ltd and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd, and Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd  in whose names some the properties were acquired.

The commission also alleged that Mohammed, while still being the FCT minister appointed JemilaTangaza as Special Assistant and, thereafter, Director of Abuja Geographic Information System (A018) “to facilitate fraudulent allocations of plots of land to her and her proxies and nominees in choice areas”.

The EFCC alleged that the plots of lands were sold and their “proceeds laundered in the acquisition of some these houses like House No 9 Plantinurn White Estate Abuja, acquired in the name of Mohammed Musa.”

It said Intertrans Global Logistics Ltd was linked to the son of the former minister, Shamsuddeen.
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