How corruption scuttled $1bn foreign investment in Nigeria, ex-FCT minister fingered
A coalition of activists under the umbrella of Citizens United Against Corruption (CUAG-NIG) Wednesday in Abuja painted a picture of how corruption allegedly frustrated a massive $1 billion investment in the Nigerian capital. The coalition made the allegation during a press briefing held in collaboration with Nationwide Action Against Corruption (NAAC).
The activists blamed former FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, among others, for the botched investment and demanded that all those involved should be brought to book.
The statement issued by the coalition read inter alia: “The project named Heritage City African Kingdom and Empire Theme Park, a replica of the United States of America Disney World Centre was reportedly conceptualised during Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s administration in the FCT in 2004. To avoid being painted in the colour of attention seekers or business promoters, we would restrict ourselves to the motive behind this exposure. As mentioned earlier, the Empire theme park was to bring in an estimated $1 billion worth of direct foreign investment into Nigeria. In addition, it will create a minimum of 14,000 to 15,000 jobs for our teeming unemployed youths as well as provide expected earnings of about $3 billion to our country’s economy annually.
“But unfortunately, these gains were sacrificed on the altar of alleged greed/corruption. We are in possession of documents dated 19th November, 2012; 20th December, 2012; 2/5/2013; 11th April, 2013; 18th April, 2013; 30th May, 2013; 24th May, 2013; 31st May, 2013; 28th October, 2014; 05/03/2015 and others to show that this laudable project was scuttled due to alleged demand of N1.9 billion bribe by former FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, and his business crony, one Mr. Tarik Hammond, a Lebanese naturalised Nigerian.
“Our hearts bleed because this is the alleged face of those we entrust our destiny in their hands as public officers.
“Recall that on the 6th of August, 2016, The Nation Newspaper on its front page reported the story of the former FCT Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed, his son and the same Mr. Tarik Hammond, in alleged FCT land racketeering and money laundering citing EFCC sources. Also recall that the Senate Committee that investigated the numerous petitions of alleged corruption, fraud and land racketeering against the former minister is yet to make its report and findings public.
“Time was, in our country when most weighty allegations of corruption involving high profile individuals are usually settled under the table and swept under the carpet but we can see that today is different and that even the carpet is no longer a safe haven for hiding corruption. “Therefore, it is the expectation of Nigerians that our nation’s anti-corruption agencies should move swiftly to investigate, arrest and prosecute all those involved in this wicked act if proven to be credible after a transparent investigative process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, our key objectives are to see that all those involved in this alleged corrupt practice are brought to book in accordance with the law and for the Federal Government to seek means of bringing the investment back to our country as one of the ways to come out of our current economic recession.
“Our investigation into this matter is still ongoing and we will soon invoke the Freedom of Information Act to demand for other relevant documents from the Authorities of the Federal Capital Territory Administration before we forward our conclusive findings and documents to President Buhari and the EFCC for prosecution and the Nigerian public for purposes of information.”