N6m Bribe: ICPC Arraigns Firm, 3 Others

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned three persons, Kenneth Okezie Samuel, Collins Ugwu, Cosmas Okechukwu Eze and a company, Boss Engineering Nigeria Ltd, before Hon. Justice Angela O. Ataluka of High Court 27 of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), on a 5-count charge bordering on bribery, criminal conspiracy and forgery.

While the first defendant Kenneth Okezie Samuel was arraigned on counts 1 to 5, the second, third and fourth defendants, Boss Engineering Nigeria Ltd, Collins Ugwu, and Cosmas Okechukwu Eze respectively were arraigned on counts 1, 4 and 5.

In Charge No. CR/207/16, the accused were alleged to have offered to pay the sum of N6,000,000 (Six Million Naira) through Cosmas Okechukwu Eze as an inducement to the Procurement Committee of the Federal Ministry of Works to facilitate the procurement of a contract in favour of Boss Engineering Nigeria Ltd, which offence contravenes Sections 26(1)(c) and 22(1)(a)(i) and punishable under Section 22(6) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The suspects allegedly forged a Tax Clearance Certificate No. 05387252 purportedly belonging to Boss Engineering Nigeria Ltd and presenting same to the Procurement Committee of the Ministry of Works for the purpose of prequalification for award of contract and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 25(1)(a) and punishable under Section 25 (1)(b) of the ICPC law.

Mr. Samuel was also charged for paying the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) into Guaranty Trust Bank Account No. 0020128053 and issuance of undated Skye Bank cheque No. 18723789 in the sum of N400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira) to one Michael Olanrewaju Awonusi as part payment of the N6,000,000 inducement to Cosmas Okechukwu Eze.

While taking their plea separately, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them. All their Counsels namely John Kalu Esq., Christopher Makpu Esq. and Ashimole Felix Esq. through motions supported by affidavits applied for bail for their various clients.

However, in a swift reaction to the prayers sought by the defense, ICPC lead counsel, Ephraim Chukwuemeka Otti Esq., asked the court grant bail under conditions that will compel the accused persons to attend trial.

Having listened to the submissions of all the parties, the trial judge therefore granted bail separately to all the accused to the tune of the sum of N2,000,000 (Two Million Naira) and two sureties in the like sum. The sureties must be civil servants of FCT, not below Grade Level 14, who must present evidence of being currently in the FCT civil service and whose retirement must not be due in the next five years.

The case has been adjourned to November 21, 2016, for hearing.