The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed.
A top source in the anti-graft agency told our correspondent on Monday that the former FCT minister was arrested around 10.39am on Monday and taken into custody for interrogation by a team of operatives, who were awaiting his arrival.
The source said Mohammed was still writing his statement as of the time of filing this story.
It was gathered that the commission commenced discreet investigations into the activities of the former minister following a petition against him in 2013 while he was still in office.
“We have been on the probe for some times. As we are talking now, the former minister is writing his statement,” the source said.
It was learnt that the EFCC was investigating the ex-minister for alleged fictitious contracts worth N1bn and the allocation of 12 properties and 37 commercial plots of land to a suspected front of Mohammed and a controversial Abuja land swap deal put at N1tn.
It was learnt that prior to the arrest of the ex-minister, the EFCC had interrogated top directors of the FCT.
Those quizzed, the source added, included the Director of Treasury, Ibrahim Bomoi, his counterpart in charge of Land, Babayo Mainasara, and the Director in charge of Abuja Geographical Information Service, Ms Jamila Tangaza.
The commission was also said to have quizzed the son of the former minister, Samshudeen Bala, and one Tariq Hammoud, said to be a front for the minister.
“His arrest is the high point of the investigation in which the owners of 16 companies have been questioned by the EFCC for being linked to allegations of awarding fictitious contracts,” he stated.
It was further learnt that as the investigation progressed, the commission seized four houses said to be owned by the former FCT minister, and his son in August.
The commission put the value of the seized houses at N872m.
It was learnt that commission had secured a temporary asset forfeiture order in August to seize two houses, located at number 1 and 3 Muktah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.
The commission was also said to have confiscated three duplexes from the ex-minister’s son, valued at N225m.
Efforts to confirm the arrest of Mohammed from the Head of Media and Publicity, EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as calls to the mobile of the commission’s spokesman failed to connect.