The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has accused a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Bala Mohammed, of diverting internally generated revenue while in office and acting as a front for Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
A detective in the EFCC, while speaking with our correspondent, alleged Mohammed became very close to the Jonathan family in 2009 after he called for the adoption of the doctrine of necessity when the then President Umaru Yar’Adua was critically ill and unable to perform his functions as President.It was through this process that Yar’Adua was declared incapacitated and paved the way for the then Vice-President Jonathan to become the acting President and later President.
As FCT minister, Mohammed revoked the 1.84 hectares of land allocated to Yar’Adua’s wife, which was meant for her organisation, Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation.
The ex-minister then allocated the land to Patience for the construction of African First Ladies’ Peace Mission’s secretariat, stating that the move was in the interest of the public.
An FCT High Court, however, described the land grab as illegal and returned it to Mrs. Yar’Adua.
A source at the EFCC, however, said there was evidence to show that the ex-minister had given other plots of land to Patience in a similar fashion.
“We have evidence to show that Bala Mohammed was a front for Patience Jonathan. He abused his position and used it to allocate land to her as well. Patience has several business interests in Abuja, including a hotel,” a source stated.
Patience has since written a petition to the House of Representatives, accusing the EFCC of harassing her and her associates.
In an interview with journalists in 2015, the ex-minister denied abusing his office, stating that he was loyal to the Jonathan family and was only helping Patience with her African First Ladies’ Peace Mission’s project by providing her with free land.
He had said, “People say all sorts of things about my family: that I have stolen so and so billions; I have given plots of land to the first lady. People are always insinuating that the first lady has so much in the FCT and they are all lies.
“Most people talk this way because they want to see a situation to cause friction; an example is what happened with our support of the First Lady Mission.
“It is an African Union initiative. It is not personal to the first lady, it is a global initiative, but some highly-placed Nigerians were insinuating that we were taking FCT resources to service the first lady. It is not so.”
Mohammed has been in EFCC custody for six weeks and is accused of entering into some controversial land deals, as well as giving some landed properties to his cronies for the construction of malls.