The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) got a reprieve from the Court of Appeal which sat in Benin Edo State on 30th January 2015. The Appelate Court dismissed an appeal filed by the former Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government, Chief Callistus Nwawolo who challenged his conviction of 9 August 2007 at the High Court Of Justice Delta State Kwale for an act of corruption.
The former Chairman was sentenced last year by the court to a 3-year imprisonment term or payment of a fine of N300,000 for corrupt enrichment through a contract he awarded while in office.
ICPC had in 2004 arraigned the former Chairman before High Court Of Justice, Delta State in Kwale for acquiring interest in a contract awarded by his office during his tenure and in the process conferred corrupt advantage on one of his relations who executed the contract, contrary to section 12 & 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Callistus, not satisfied with the judgment, which was considered as even mild, proceeded to file an appeal to challenge the Court’s decision.
However at the Court of Appeal in a unanimous judgement read by Justice Inn Salauwa on behalf of others, dismissed the appeal by the former Aniocha North Local Government Chairman, and contended that the prosecution had proved the allegation of corruption against him beyond reasonable doubt.
The Appeal Court also blamed the trial judge Justice G. B Briki- Okolosi for giving the Chairman an option of fine on the basis that Section 12 of the ICPC Act which he contravened, and upon which he was tried and convicted, did not allow the trial judge any discretion to impose a fine.