An official with 86 private cars in Buhari’s administration charged with fraud

The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, has ordered that 86 luxury vehicles, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, belonging to a civil servant, Mr. Ibrahim Tumsah, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.

LAGOS, Nigeria –––Corruption allegation and perception are a never-ending reality in successive Nigerian administrations, from military governments to civilian ones.

Before coming to power for the second time and as a civilian leader, incumbent president Mohammadu Buhari pledged to wipe out corruption and he is carrying out his promises by targeting members of the former administration of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan who ran basically a cartel of thieves, including the country’s former oil minister Diezani K. Alison-Madueke who allegedly squandered billions from oil revenue into her personal accounts.

As Buhari seeks to end graft, aides closest to him have not only intensified and diversified the theft of public funds, they have taken corruption at another level.

One of them is a Nigerian government official found with 86 new luxury cars.  The official, on Thursday, was charged with fraud, court papers point out.

The finance and account director at the country’s Power, Works, and Housing Ministry, Ibrahim Tumsah, was arraigned at Abuja Federal High Court along with his brother Tijani Tumsah, who is a member of a presidential committee on initiatives in the country’s northeast.

The two brothers have been accused of “refusing” to declare the assets “without reasonable excuse” and after being given notice by a special presidential investigation panel tasked with the recovery of public property.

Apart from luxury cars and other expensive toys, the Tumsahs’ assets include four houses and a quarry plant in the capital Abuja.

In December last year, another Nigerian court had ordered that all the property in question that belongs to the Tumsahs be temporarily seized.

The brothers have been granted a bail after they pleading not guilty to the charges levied against them.  The court adjourned their case to March 1 this year at which time they are expected to reappear.

Nigeria is one of Africa’s richest nation in natural resources, human capital and a population (more than 180 million people), but it remains a nation with great human needs due to widespread corruption in the public sector and mismanagement in governance.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.

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