ICPC Case: Court Remands Two Ministries Staff over 12 Million Job Racketeering

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), has arraigned the duo of Mrs. Ndubuisi Joy Chineme, a staff member of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, and Mr. Godwin Sabo Takat of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, over allegations bordering on obtaining by false pretense and employment racketeering.

The ICPC in a charge N0. CR/243/2024, brought before Honourable Justice C.O. Oba of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 31, sitting in Apo, Abuja, accused the defendants of defrauding unsuspecting job seekers to the tune of over Twelve Million (N12,000,000) Naira only.

ICPC in a 9-count charge, accused the defendants of jointly obtaining the said amount from their victims by false pretense.

Their actions, according to the Counsel to the ICPC, Mr. Nura Saidu contravened section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, Section18 (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and section 363 of the Penal Code Act, 1990.

One of the counts reads “that you Godwin Sabo Takat (M) between January and June 2018 or thereabouts at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja whilst being a Staff of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing with intent to defraud did induce by false pretense Ndubuisi Joy Chineme to confer a benefit on you by paying the sum of (N4,530,000.00K) Four Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand Naira only in your First Bank account for securing employment for unsuspecting job seekers in the Federal Civil Service and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (2) and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.”

However, after the counts were read to their hearing, the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to all the 9-count charges.

Consequently upon the pleas, the presiding Judge hinted to the counsels involved for an immediate move on to trial proceeding, but the Prosecuting Counsel pointed out that the matter was slated for only arraignment and that commencement of hearing will not be possible because some of the documents to be tendered were not rightly available in his domain. To this submission, the defense counsel did not oppose but left it at the discretion of the court.

The Prosecuting counsel requested to the court to adjourn the case to allow for adequate preparation for the hearing commencement, which the defense did not oppose.

Counsel to the two defendants, Mr. E.E. Ogar and I.O. Nweze, filed separate bail applications and pleaded with the Judge to admit their clients to bail on very liberal terms pending trials.

Mr. Saidu, counsel to the ICPC did not object to the bail applications made by the counsels to the defendants.

Justice Oba thereafter admitted the defendants to bail at N2 Million with two sureties for each of them, who (each of the sureties) must have N20 Million in their accounts and 2 landed properties in the FCT, to be verified by the court.

He ordered that the defendants be remanded in Suleja and Kuje Correctional Centers pending the fulfillment of the bail conditions. The Judge later adjourned the case till 13th January, 2025 for the commencement of trial.