The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is investigating a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, for alleged financial crimes in excess of N1.6 trillion, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
Sources within the agency told this newspaper that Mr. Mohammed, who served from April 2010 until May 2015, was allegedly involved in extensive land racketeering as a minister.
Prices of lands in Abuja are amongst the highest in Africa. A 1,400 sqm piece of land could go for as high as N250 million.
Plots can sell in upscale areas of Asokoro, Maitama and Wuse 2 for over a billion naira.
“After computation of the land deals that he struck, we discovered that more than N1.6 trillion could not be accounted for,” a source said.
Mr. Mohammed, a former senator from Bauchi State, was arrested on October 24 by EFCC operatives. He has not been released since then.
Sources said the EFCC had procured a court order to remand him for a longer period.
The former minister could not be reached for comments.
Mr. Mohammed was the first senator who publicly declared his support for the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to be made president, in the dying days of the Yar’adua administration between late 2009 and early 2010.
He later led a group of Senators to successfully press for the activation of the so-called doctrine of necessity that made Mr. Jonathan acting president.
The House of Representatives flank of that push was led by a former member, Seriake Dickson.
While Mr. Dickson later became governor with the support of the former president, Mr. Mohammed got the FCT post for all of Mr. Jonathan’s six years in power.
The FCT ministerial position is seen by Nigerian politicians as one of the most “lucrative” cabinet portfolios.