Mr. Bashir Magashi, a Nigeria minister of defence appointed by Muhammadu Buhari is a thief that stole the sum of N200 million ($550,000) while in the service, Premium Times investigation has shown.
Magashi, took the sum and domiciled it in a foreign bank when caught in the act, he pleaded for forgiveness and promised to return the money to the government.
The officer who did not want to be prosecuted or disgraced publicly got empathized by the government and was secretly reprimanded and was given the liberty to enjoy some of the monies he has stolen.
This was after he begged the government to allow him to forfeit over two-thirds of the money he stole and were stashed in secret banks overseas.
This thief is now Nigeria’s most powerful minister overseeing the defence ministry that has N159.13 billion budget this year.
The minister was Sokoto state military governor from 1990–1992 and was made the country commander of strategic Brigade of Guards in September 1993 in advance of Mr. Sani Abacha, former Nigeria dictator coup in November 1993.
Magashi used his position during the Abacha era to steal money using crude oil allocation as the main deal.
At the demise of Abacha in 1998, Magashi was made commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy.
He held the place up till 1999 when Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigeria president forcibly retired all military officers who had stayed over six years.
Obasanjo anti-graft war when he assumed office exposed the minister deal. The former president engaged a Swiss lawyer, Mr. Enrico Monfrini, to assist in tracking and repatriating monies stolen by Abacha and his ally.
Monfrini uncovered a secret account in the United Kingdom, a branch of Bank PNP Paribus having $550,000 (about N200million -at N362 to a dollar) belonging to Magashi.
When the former president became aware of the loot, he directed Mr. Abdullahi Mukhtar, the former National Security Adviser to summon Magashi and other officials who had stolen monies belonging to the government.
Obasanjo forced them to relinquish their loot to the government.
When confronted, Magashi, admitted having stolen the money but said it was a proceed from crude oil given to Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) by Abacha.
He pleaded for mercy which made former Obasanjo allow him to retain $150,000 and remit $400,000 to the government.
When Buhari explanation was sought, Mr. Garba Shehu, the president Spokesperson refused to comment.