Viral reports claiming that close to two billion Naira cash were recovered from the house of former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, have been faulted by the accused, Naija News reports.
It was reported earlier that operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, stormed the former COAS home in Wuse, Abuja, and recovered a load of cash to the tune of N1.85 billion and some other items.
According to reports, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) had alerted the ICPC when it commenced a probe of an alleged military contractor named Salisu.
An ICPC source who reportedly spoke SaharaReporters claimed that NFIU discovered that N500 million was paid into Salisu’s account at once and quickly flagged it.
It noted that when Salisu was queried about the source of the money, he said he was a military contractor but could not show any evidence of carrying out any contract for the military.
The NFIU, according to the report, transferred the case to the ICPC, who proceeded to carry out more investigation and the raid, which occurred last week.
Naija News understands that the said recovery had stirred reactions on and off social media earlier as Nigerians lament excesses by government officials and appointees.
Reacting to the viral reports, Buratai, in a statement signed by his Legal Advisor, osuagwu Ugochukwu ESQ, described the reports as a smear and fabricated tales published to tarnish his image.
Buratai, through OSUAGWU, said: “My attention has been drawn to a recent publication on the webpage of Sahara reporters titled “EXCLUSIVE: Anti-graft Agency, ICPC Uncovers Billions In Cash Meant For Arms, Ammunition To Fight Boko Haram In Abuja Home Of Ex-Chief Of Army Staff, Buratai” which was published on 23/06/2022.
“I have gone through the said Publication and have interfaced with Ambassador T.Y. Buratai and can authoritatively say the content of the publication is false, concocted and malicious.
“It is on record that on or about 5th April 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the purchase of equipment worth $1bn for the military through the Ministry of Defence. It is a fact that the first batch of Six Super Tucano fighter jets arrived in Nigeria on July 22, 2021, while the final batch of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets arrived on October 18, 2021. No Arms fund is ever missing contrary to some previous mischievous publications.”
Osuagwu maintained that no such amount (#850M or any similar sum) as reported was found with Buratai.
He stressed further that the former COAS also does not have any aide with the name mentioned in the viral reports.
“Ambassador Buratai has no office or house in Wuse Abuja(address not supplied by SR) nor does he have any bulletproof cars, BMW, G-Wagon (Particulars of the vehicle not also provided by SR) worth N450m and neither is ICPC investigating any such.
“We view this as an orchestrated act aimed at tarnishing the image of LT General T.Y Buratai. We shall take all legal steps to hold the publishers accountable for such grievous character assassination on the image of LT.T.Y Buratai (RTD),” said Osuagwu in defense of his principal.
Meanwhile, the ICPC has also debunked the report that it invaded Buratai’s house.
The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, made the clarification in a statement on Friday made available to Naija News.
He said contrary to earlier reports, the house belongs to a military contractor who is the owner of K Salam Construction Company and urged members of the public to disregard inaccurate reports about what transpired.