ICPC Docks Edo Majority Leader over Alleged Tax Fraud

An Edo State High Court sitting in Benin City, has fixed 14th of April, 2014 for the arraignment of the majority leader of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Philip Shaibu for allegedly forging tax clearance certificate.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had dragged the majority leader to court on a six-count charge for allegedly violating the provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

According to the charge sheet Hon. Shaibu allegedly in July, 2010 at Abuja, made false statement to the officers of ICPC claiming that he was an employee of Zanote Ventures Nigeria Limited from 2003 to 2006.

The accused person was also alleged to have lied to the officials of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue sometime in November, 2006 to fraudulently obtain a tax clearance certificate.

The alleged false statements are offences that contravenes Section 23(1)(a) and punishable under Section 1(b) of the ICPC Act, 2000.

Counsel to Hon. Shaibu, Mr Ken Mozia (SAN) however, sought for bail ahead of the arraignment of the accused before the court by ICPC. According to him this was to enable him respond to the charges preferred against his client.

But ICPC Counsel, Barr. Godson Igbadume, opposed the bail application. He argued that the bail application should be taken at the commencement of the trial.

Barr. Igbadume said that Hon Shaibu has been evading service from the Commission stressing that efforts made to reach the accused person had proved abstruse  until he was brought before court.

After listening to the submissions of both Counsels, the trial Judge, Justice Esther Edigion agreed with the argument of the ICPC Counsel and adjourned the case till April 14, 2014 to enable the defence counsel respond to the charges as well as take the bail application.