Army Colonel Faces Dismissal, 7 Years In Jail Over Fraud

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For swindling Bayelsa State Government of N150 million by impersonating his boss, late Gen. Andrew Azazi, the aide de camp (ADC) to the late National Security Adviser, who is a serving colonel in the Nigerian Army, Lt-Col Robert Ahangba, faces a possible loss of his commission, dismissal from the service and could spend the next seven years in jail if the Nigerian Army sanctions the guilty sentence passed on him earlier in the week by a court martial.

Ahangba had allegedly obtained the said money fraudulently from the Bayelsa State Government under the guise that he was sent by the former NSA whom he said needed the money for some community projects and also to help the government swing votes for the former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva during the 2011 gubernatorial elections.

The General Court Martial (GCM) of the Nigerian Army, on Tuesday, August 6, 2013, however, found Ahangba with service number N9827, guilty and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment but subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army headquarters.

The officer who was initially charged on a four-count-charge including conduct of prejudice of service duty, obtaining money under false pretence, disobedience to standing order and conduct of prejudice to service discipline, was sentenced by the court martial on two count charges including obtaining under false pretences and and conduct of prejudice to service discipline after the court concluded sitting at the Nigerian Army Auditorium, Victoria Island, Lagos.

President of the GCM, Brigadier-General Edward Nze and the Judge Advocate, Captain Chukwudi Okonkwo, at the end of he 10-hour sitting, said that the officer serving the sentence automatically means he is dismissed from service.

According to the president, the officer’s dismissal was in line with the Armed Forces Act which stipulates that ex-convicts don’t serve in the armed forces.

The court also ruled that the accused should return the N142,345,654 he fraudulently obtained for some phony community projects in accordance with sub-section 2 of section 174 of the Armed Forces Act and laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The court directed the military police in conjunction with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to track the entire sum and return it to the Bayelsa State Government.

“This court after thorough evaluation of evidence before it, the service record of the convict and alocutus of the defence also considered the grave effect of the serving officer which is an act of indiscipline in the NA and came to the certain conclusions.

“But the court frowns afresh at the convict’s conduct as the serving officer had the golden opportunity to work with one of the finest generals this country has ever had but instead of taking the advantage he decided to embrace the disgraceful get-rich-quick syndrome.

“Worse still, he had abandoned his earlier line of defence because during investigation, he was painting the general black after his death. The court therefore sentences the convict to seven years imprisonment for obtaining money under false pretence subject to confirmation from superior authorities,” the GCM president said.

Onipanu Div

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