Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to arraign Ogbulafor and four others over alleged N104m fraud.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor

All was set yesterday for the trial of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Vincent Ogbulafor for alleged N170million fraud.
Mr Justice Ishaq Bello of the Abuja High Court gave the go-ahead to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to arraign Ogbulafor and four others next Monday for the alleged offence.

He said ICPC could apply for an arrest warrant if there is a likelihood of any of the accused person not coming to court.

The others are former secretary/member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC), Emeka Ebilah, former Director, Budget Implementation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Emmanuel Bosah, Henry Ikoh and Jude Nwokoro.

They are facing a 16-count charge preferred against them by the ICPC.

They are accused of fraudulently receiving about N82,631,03.41 from the Federal Government and N11,519,906.25 through a proxy for fictitious contracts.

They also allegedly fraudulently received N13,704, 214.96, N6,286,800.18, N44 million through a proxy, N10million, N28million, N2million, N7.5million and N6million at various times for fictitious contracts.

Besides, they allegedly paid N11,687,671.88 and N14, 987,062.50 at various times for consultancy services.

The accused allegedly used the NEIC contract verification panel to perfect the deals.

The alleged offences are contrary to Sections, 12, 13, 26 and punishable under Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

One of the alleged offences amounted to felony contrary to Section 13 read in conjunction with Section 19 of the Act.

Ogbulafor allegedly committed the offence when he was Minister of Special Duties.

Justice Bello thwarted attempts by Ogbulafor’s counsel, Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) to stop proceedings yesterday when the case was mentioned.

Gadzama told the Court he had an application seeking leave to be heard before ICPC’s ex-parte motion was taken.

But Justice Bello rebuffed him. He insisted his application would not be taken because what was listed before him was ICPC’s ex-parte motion.

The judge ordered: "Mr Gadzama, please sit down! You are a SAN and should know better, the business of the day is to hear the application filed by the prosecution, which I already slated for today and am going ahead to hear it.

"You have just filed your own application and I have not even seen it, why don’t you save your energy, I cannot hear it today (yesterday) so please sit down".

Moving the April 19 application which is supported by a five-paragraph affidavit, the prosecutor, Paul Ahmed Bassi sought the court’s leave to prefer charges against the accused.

Ruling, Justice Bello said: "I have carefully considered the motion ex-parte filed by the prosecution as well as the attached exhibits, the application merits my approval and I hereby fix Monday, 3rd of May, 2010, for the arraignment of all the accused.

"The evidence against them should be produced on that day for the accused to take their plea.

"Section 185 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) provides that when a high court is ready to commence trial, the prosecution will apply for the accused to be produced in court to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges against him.

"Since the prosecution said they are not under incarceration, it is trite to order the accused to appear on that day.

"The order is that a copy of the charge be served on each of the accused through the prosecution before the adjourn date.

"However the prosecution is at liberty to apply for an order of arrest if it is convinced that any of them is planning to abscond trial.

"Ordinarily I will have allowed the plea to be taken on Thursday this week but we have so many cases already. This is a case that has attracted much public attention, I will ensure that justice is done in time, thus am going to give this matter accelerated hearing".

0 Feedback:

Site Meter