Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Is Lt. Gen. Buratai’s hands clean? Nigerian Govt. clears him of any wrong


The Federal Government has investigated and cleared the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai over his assets and military acquisitions just as the nature of his offshore investments has been shown to be based on capital market principles of shareholding.

The capital market principle that governed the properties in issue, as it was found by investigators, was akin to having shares in companies instead of wholly owning the properties.

The government, after investigating a recent media report over the acquisition of properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by General Buratai, discovered that he and his wives invested as “shareholders” like many other persons in the properties mentioned in the publications and were not the sole owners.

“If you know the properties being referred to, you would know that they are like quoted companies. You buy into them and get dividends as profit from your investments. You can also do your own private findings on this fact”, a competent source told PRNigeria.

An intelligence military officer involved in the investigation also confirmed that apart from declaring the assets as required by law, “the Dubai property is real estate investment tailored to operate on capital market principles of shares for dividends and profits as proceeds from investment rather than total ownership of the property.”

The source further disclosed that Lt. Gen. Buratai had been into farming since he was a major. “The large scale farm produces grains, cassavas, millets and also has fish pond apart from variety of animal and reptile that provides specialised nutrients and medicament for different clients. The 1999 Constitution (as amended) under Fifth Schedule Part 1- permits a public officer to engage in farming,” the officer said.

While Defence Minister, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali has come out publicly to disclose that the Army Chief did not hide the properties, as he declared them on more than one occasion to both the Nigerian Army and Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), other investigations further buttressed the transparency in all the deals.

PRNigeria gathered that Lt-Gen. Buratai had declared his assets as Commander of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and as Chief of Army Staff to the Code of Conduct Bureau where all the assets were disclosed.

It was also gathered that his two wives have been operating a quasi-micro finance social intervention scheme called ‘Sana’armu’ which means “our collective enterprise,” where they earn profits from soft-loan businesses that also help budding entrepreneurs to start their businesses.

While it was discovered that General Buratai did not operate any Skye Bank account as alleged in the recent media report, the special rugged vehicles that were procured for counter-insurgency campaigns were found to be brand new.

The officer said: “The rugged buffalo vehicles are not only brand new but they are 2014 model that were imported from Libya rather than from Niger as alleged.”

While there are suspicions that some officers affected in recent changes may be involved in the smear campaign against COAS, PRNigeria was reliably told that General Buratai has been more focused on the war on terror campaigns than engaging in the politics of witch-hunting anyone.

The officer said that “General Buratai has taken personal efforts to ensure that innocent officers are not unduly sanctioned and had suggested retirement rather than dismissal on some of the offences to protect the image of the military.

“In fact that was the reason he always guards against disclosure of the identities of affected officers to avoid stigmatisation. Even though many officers and friends are disturbed about recent campaigns against him, General Buratai has remained calm leaving everything to God,” the source added.

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