The prosecution of Maj.-Gen. UM Mohammed, the former Group Managing Director of the Nigeria Army Property Limited (NAPL), has been defended by the Nigerian Army.
According to a statement released on Sunday by Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, the former NAPL commander was put on trial after being charged with dishonest actions while in office.
The army reacted to media claims that the senior officer’s trial was taking place in secret.
He said: “The general is being tried having been indicted by a military police investigation and recommendation for trial.
“Therefore, the media report on the ongoing Court Martial process of Maj.-Gen. Mohammed is ill-conceived and campaign of calumny.
“Indeed, Maj.-Gen. Muhammed is facing army court-martial over alleged offences of theft of various sums of money belonging to NAPL and forgery.
“It is expedient to clear the air on the despicably false report and calculated attempt to cast aspersion on the ongoing court martial.”
He said the trial had already progressed to an advanced stage, adding that the prosecution had put forward the evidence against the general and closed its case.
Nwachukwu revealed that the accused had opened his defence and testified as First Defence Witness (DW1).
“For the avoidance of doubts, without being sub-judicial, the former GMD NAPL is facing trial in relation to alleged offences of theft of various sums of money belonging to NAPL and forgery.
“These are all acts declared as offences punishable under the provisions of various extant penal laws in Nigeria.
“To set the records straight, upon investigation and indictment of the accused senior officer by military police investigations, the Army Headquarters convened a Special Court Martial.
“This is to try the senior officer as a procedure to legally recover the sums of money he allegedly fraudulently acquired from the coffers of NAPL during his tenure as GMD.
“The details of the outcome of the court martial will be provided at the end of the proceedings.
“It is instructive to point out, that trials are lawfully provided in the Armed Forces Act (AFA) as one of the disciplinary tools in the armed forces,” the spokesman added.
He insisted that the trial of the accused taking place at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess in Asokoro, Abuja was not shrouded in secrecy contrary to claims in several quarters.