- His Extravagant Lifestyle, Fabulous properties; How He ‘Spoilt’ GEJ; and Why He Wants to ‘”pocket” PMB
Imagine this scenario: A civil servant whose annual salary is not up to N3 million somehow manages to acquire a mansion worth tens of millions of naira in one of the most expensive cities in his country and across major cities of the world. But even as tongues are still wagging as to how he managed to construct such a gigantic edifice, he goes the extra mile.
Just as he is about to leave his plum and ‘precious’ job because he saw his imminent sacking by President Muhammadu Buhari despite what he claims to have contributed to the electioneering campaign that brought the incumbent president to power, exclusive news filtered through a newspaper (not Universalreporters247.com) that he has yet again built the equivalent of a Saudi Sheik’s palace near his Jabi old mansion in the nation’s capital city, Abuja. Then he has had a tunnel constructed to connect the two properties. The new gigantic edifice, a masterpiece of modern architectural design with unique structures that beautifies it from the outside, was built by a Turkish construction firm; a contract that was said to have cost the owner billions of naira.
The illegal tunnel which, investigation reveals, was not approved by the FCT administration, took more than one year to be completed; it was allegedly specially constructed for the convenience and easy movement of cash. Inside sources confided in this reporter that it will be difficult, if not impossible to detect cash or other valuable items concealed inside because of the high security protection provided during the construction.
Our subject, mind you, is a person who has been a civil servant for the best part of his adult life and whose accumulated salaries cannot be up to the price of his old mansion not to talk of the array of properties and business interest in his name. So how has he been able to acquire his latest eye-popping “palace” in addition to about 200 exotic cars and a host of other landed properties scattered in different parts of the country and abroad, particularly his home state? Is it through his relatively meagre salaries, or through a family inheritance, or through some manna from heaven?
As rhetorical as these posers may seem, and as outlandish and unbelievable as the above scenario may appear, they are as true- to – life as the sun is there above the dark-blue sky! And the main character at the centre of this riveting narrative is none other than Dikko Inde, the man who, right from the onset of his appointment as Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in 2009, has epitomized controversy, double standard and a banner full of stains.
Flash- back to 2009 when Dikko Inde mounted the saddle following his appointment by the then president Umaru Yar’Adua. A plethora of petitions flew from the left, right and centre. While some of these petitions questioned his competence and integrity, the most damning alleged that he had falsified his academic record. Even as the new Customs helmsman laboured to extricate himself from the these allegations, documentary evidence and the records at some of the institutions which Inde claimed to have attended, allegedly proved conclusively that he was being economical with the truth.
So how did he survive that tempest? In the first place, the then President Yar’ Adua was battling for his life; such was the extent of his terminal illness that he could hardly focus on the “Dikkogate” fully. Aside from that, the Customs boss deployed a number of desperate measures, (including intimidation of his accusers and massive bribery of media executives whom are mostly in his payroll) to ensure that the whole thing was swept under the carpet. So much so that by the time Yar’Adua died in May 2010 and Goodluck Jonathan stepped into his shoes, Inde had reportedly mastered the art of using bribery and other forms of gratification to have his way, such that he steadily solidified his position as Comptroller General.
At the same time, much effort was devoted to feathering his nest. According to various sources at the NCS, Indel virtually turned the outfit into his personal estate. “The guy practically hit the ground running in terms of accumulating wealth by questionable means,” one of these sources told this reporter. “For instance, recruitment into customs, promotion of officers, and posting of both junior and senior staffers to juicy places, were all turned into money-minting machines by the CG. This is aside from the hundreds of millions that steadily flowed into his insatiable pockets from importers of contrabands, notorious smugglers (particularly in the Lagos and Kano axis) and those who have turned import-duty evasion into an art”.
Small wonder by the time the Jonathan administration bowed out on May 28, 2015 Inde had reportedly amassed properties estimated at billions of naira across the world using the notorious Vaswani Brothers as agents of buying properties abroad while DCG Musa Tahir supervises his dirty deals at home and coordinated the criminal syndicate that became notorious in short-changing Nigeria. “His landed properties in Lagos, Kano, and Abuja alone are in the region of billions of naira,” another reliable source squealed. “When you add these to the 200 or so exotic cars he recently moved from his Zaria/Funtua home and the millions of hard currencies he is believed to have stashed both in foreign banks and in different houses in Nigeria, it becomes evident and undisputed too that Mr. Inde is by far the richest Customs CG Nigeria has ever had.”
Inde, who reportedly handed in his resignation letter before jetting out to London penultimate week, is believed to be scheming to not only have his hand-picked successor appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, but also ensure that he (Inde) is appointed either the FCT Minister of an Adviser to the president. His ultimate goal, we further gathered, is to run for the presidency or a top political position in the 2019 general elections, having amassed billions of naira during his controversial tenure. “His pet dream is to remote-control the customs after his eventual exit”, the aforementioned source added. “Accordingly, he has already planted one of his stooges, Musa Tahir (a Deputy, Controller of Customs) in a vantage position and has been bribing people in high places and some APC stakeholders with millions upon millions of naira, to ensure that Buhari appoints Tahir as the next comptroller general, CG.
“Aside from that, he has lately been boasting to his boys, Clearing Agents that are part of the notorious syndicates and other associates that considering all that he has been doing to “water the ground” since Buhari won the presidency, his (Dikko’s) appointment as either FCT Minister or Special Adviser is a foregone conclusion and that he assured by some Emirs and Leaders of the APC that DCG Tahir will succeed him. In addition to bribery of top government officials, he is said to have brought in some Mallams from either Saudi Arabia or Sudan, to help “persuade” Buhari to grant his wish”.
Despite his huge and expensive publicity blitz through manipulating some sections of the media, Mr. Inde from the records he superintended and prepared has indicted his claim of unprecedented ‘achievement’ in Customs as that record clearly shows that since he was appointed in 2009 – six years after – he has never met his revenue target to the federal government (see the table of statistics below). From Inde’s own records it shows clearly that from 2009 to 2014 he only met his target once which was in 2011 and that from the same attached records and despite glaring increase in Customs revenue he has failed to meet his target in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014. And from available records obtained exclusively by this medium it looks very certain that as 2015 is coming to an end and if Mr. Inde will continue to be at the helm till then and considering the rot in the system under his watch it will be easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for NCS to meet its revenue target for 2015.
Mr. Inde, as exclusively gathered by this paper, has completely destroyed the NCS and has skipped the system from its structures. Under Inde and operating with a syndicate within and outside the Service certain officers were stationed permanently in sensitive areas for as long as six and five years. In many instances Inde personally supervises such officers in sensitive or so-called lucrative places and ensures that they are only answerable to him directly even if they have superiors in such Commands. Such “lucrative” postings that are being used to massively shortage the federal government through under declaring of revenue and manipulating of auctions include Federal Operations in Apapa, Tin Can Island, Semi Boarder just to mention but few. The Officers in-charge of Apapa one Yusuf, Seme Border, Turaki; and Tin Can Island, Omoh; are all well known cronies and agents of Inde.“These officers have been remitting to him on monthly bases the proceeds of shortchanging the federal government which was why they are untouchable,” an insider revealed. “And as long as Inde’s anointed candidate succeeds him insiders in the NCS are unanimous that the corruption in the NCS will only get worse notwithstanding the fact that President Buhari is in Aso Rock.”
It was further gathered that Inde’s anointed candidate for the CG’s job, DCG Tahir is corruption personified and, according to an insider, “he has been sufficiently caged and blackmailed by Inde to do his bidding even after his imminent disengagement from service.” DCG Tahir was primarily given the post of Chairman of Overtime Cargo Committee to represent Inde’s huge interest and is considered by many as a blind loyalist of the outgoing CG. “One thing we all know here is that Tahir specializes in the highly technical fraud associated to auction and diverting the proceeds to his boss, Inde” disclosed the aforementioned source. This medium can authoritatively report that apart from Tahir, other Inde’s boys in the Service likeUmar Shawurnu and one Musa among others are also part of the Overtime Cargo syndicate appointed exclusively by Inde. They are in-charge of negotiating and paying the duty that is supposed to go to government coffers to Inde’s pockets and themselves. They allegedly usually ensure that goods/containers in the ports are deliberately abandoned and thereafter they will gazette it for auction. Their stationed agents are mostly the beneficiaries of the fraudulent auction. DCG Tahir as the man in-charge of the syndicate and who reports to Inde directly and return the proceeds to has no option than to do everything Inde wants as he has ‘shrewdly’ implicated him including authorizing him to submit fraudulent and indicting memos which Inde in turn uses as a tool of blackmailing him and as a means of “enforcing” Tahir to be loyal. “Inde has been a habitual blackmailer and knows areas to silence Tahir even if he is no longer the CG. Inde and Tahir are very unpopular amongst the Officers and men of the NCS. As ‘leaders’ they are not independent minded and they lack initiation”, another souce disclosed.
This paper can exclusively reveal that Inde’s Customs was used as a major source of funding the multi billionaire ex-President Goodluck Jonathan used for his campaign. Proceeds from clearance with Corporate Identity was used by Inde in 2011 and 2015 to fund Jonathan’s presidential campaign which is why under the former president Inde remains powerful and touted himself as the only person that can repositioned NCS even though he has failed in five years to meet his revenue target. Some Officers on condition of anonymity in an interview with this reporter said for President Buhari to be seen as serious in repositioning the NCS, Inde must face forensic for false declaration of revenue quoting from his own reports.
Inde has also promoted and encouraged indiscipline and insubordination in the Service. One of such celebrated cases is that of his protégé, one Kuffi Dan Garba. Dan Garba was recommended for dismissal or retirement for assaulting a senior Officer but Inde sat on it and blackmailed Dan Garba to be part of his corrupt syndicates doing the dirty job for him. Dan Garba is known within the Service to be releasing goods on behalf of Inde without payment of duty under different pretexts, including letters of Indemnity where a whole shift load will land in Port-Harcourt but Dan Garba will collect a letter and indemnify payment (by giving reasons) that he will pay but he will never come back. Such money usually goes to ex-President Jonathan, Inde or to whatever agenda PDP have, hence the CG’s perennial inability to meet revenue targets year after year.
Inde also recruited some syndicates that are working for him at the EFCC. “Some of them are retired Officers of the Customs and they will be posted to the EFCC by Inde because by the law that establishes the EFCC, it (NCS) has a seat on the EFCC Board”, a top Customs chap sqealed. Inde’s SA, one Bako Abdulmumini and Olufemi are amongst the Officers from the NCS posted by Inde to the EFCC to serve his interest. Olufemi for example retired from the NCS in 2014 but he was retained at the EFCC still working for Inde’s interest. Olufemi is believed to specialize in criminally sponsoring petitions with pen names against perceived enemies or those considered as threats to the Customs CG and also an expert in backdating petitions to suit their interest. For example he has done same criminality to one Garba Makarfi, John Ate, Bello Liman, Adewoyi, Aminu Abba among many others.
We can also authoritatively reveal that two days to the handing over to President Buhari the sum of N3billion unbudgeted money was released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, to Dikko Inde on the orders of the former President Jonathan to buy a house in Abuja for his in-law. This paper can exclusively report that Inde bought the said house at N2.2billion and took the remaining N800million for himself instead of giving the balance to the man. The case is still on.
As improbable as Inde’s dream to teleguide the NCS after his exit may seem, Dikko, who is well known for his flamboyant lifestyle and “stinking wealth”, is said to be hell bent on succeeding by all means. Well, time shall tell if the luck that had enabled him overcome diverse odds since his appointment in 2009, will continue to work in his favour under a government that promises to be accountable and to deal with all known and identified cases of corruption and corrupt enrichment under the former regime of Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.