The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized four houses worth N872 million from a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed, and his son, Shamsudeen Bala.The ex-minister is also being investigated for fictitious contracts of about N1billion, allocation of 12 choice plots worth billions of naira and 37 other commercial plots of land worth about N8 billion to his suspected front named Tariq Hammoud.
Bala is expected to explain his role in the controversial N1 trillion Abuja land swap.
Already, companies linked with fictitious contracts awarded by Bala have been questioned by the EFCC, The Nation reports.
EFCC said it had obtained an interim forfeiture order to confiscate a N650 million house at 1 and 3, Mariam Mukhtar Street, Asokoro.
The same forfeiture order was secured to seize the ex-minister’s son three duplexes costing about N222 million in the Apo Area of Abuja.
A source told the newspaper that: “Some of those quizzed so far confessed that Bala used unconventional methods in raking illicit funds and laundering same. Each time the ex-minister allocated a plot of land, he would find out the market value and ask you to pay half of the amount to him in cash.
“For instance if a plot of land was N2 billion, Bala would ask for N1 billion cash from the prospective buyer. He was smart in collecting cash.
“But the EFCC has traced allocation of 37 commercial plots to Hammoud and how N8billion was made from it. In fact, we saw a proposal by Tariq Hammoud to sell some of the plots.
“So far, our operatives have arrested, detained and quizzed Shamsudeen (son). He is presently on administrative bail. We have also interrogated Hammoud.”
“We are investigating him (Bala), though we are yet to invite him for questioning. Certainly, we are closing in on him.”
The source added that EFCC had grilled top directors of the FCT administration. “As for Ms Jamila Tangaza, we arrested and detained her because she was connected with the land scam and abuse of office.
“The ex-minister asked her to resign her appointment with BBC and appointed her as a Senior Special Assistant on Media and Information. But Bala allocated some plots of land to her to sell in order to acquire a mansion in Asokoro District too. Her house was allegedly worth N158million.
“Also, Jamila allegedly abused her office by awarding N800million contracts to her company which is called Songbird Multimedia.
“Her case was interesting. When she registered the company with the Corporate Affairs Commission, she used a fictitious name as the CEO of the company but she is the sole signatory to the company’s account and her phone number is the point of contact with the firm.
“We have sent her signature on CAC document and other specimen signatures collected from her to a forensic laboratory. Following a court order, we detained her in the past few days but as at Friday, she was pleading that we should grant her bail. We are looking into her request.”