N50m bribe: Court adjourns EFCC suit against Chinese businessmen

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The Sokoto State Zonal Head of Operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdullahi Lawal, at the resumed hearing on a case of bribery against two Chinese, Meng Wei Kun and Xu Kuai, narrated how he coordinated the sting operation, leading to the arrest of the suspects, who offered him a bribe of N50 million naira.

The bribe according to him, was allegedly offered by the duo on behalf of China Zhounghao Nigeria Limited, a construction company, to compromise investigation by the EFCC over contracts it was awarded by the Zamfara State Government, in the sum of over N60, 000,000,000.00 between 2012 and 2019.

Lawal, the 2nd prosecution witness in the matter, was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, S.H Sa’ad, at the Sokoto High Court, presided over by Justice Muhammad Sifawa

The EFCC boss told the court, “On May 8, 2020, while in my office at No. 7 Super Quarters, off Sama Road, Sokoto, the 1st defendant, Mr Meng Wei Kum called me and informed me that he was in Sokoto for the purpose of arranging N100 million for me, and everything will be ready by Monday, being May 11, 2020.

“On Monday, at about 3pm, the 1st defendant called and informed me that the money was ready and that he was only able to raise N50 million due to the lockdown and that a balance of N50million will be given at a later date. I said okay, no problem. He now informed me that I should come for the money in the night, at their office near Sokoto State University, along airport road, Kasarawa Village. I said I didn’t know the office. The 1st defendant said he will wait for me at Sokoto State University gate. Immediately after the discussion, I arranged a group of operatives and kept them on standby.

“Around 9pm, he sent me a text message that they were already there. In order to test how serious he was, I sent him a text message that he should leave it until tomorrow. He replied that I should come that the money was with them in cash and they didn’t want the money to sleep with them overnight for security reasons.

“I called the officers that I arranged for the operation to come and meet me. They came in two vehicles and met me along Airport Road. I told them I will first go, and after 15-20 minutes, they should come and meet me at their office where the money will be given.”

He further told the court how his team arrested the duo with the funds.

At the hearing, the defence counsel, A.T Hassan, however, did not oppose the proceedings. All the exhibits tendered by the prosecution through Lawal (PW2), were admitted by the court.

While ruling that the money be kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sokoto for safekeeping, Justice Sifawa adjourned continuation of trial on the case to August 10, 11 and 12, 2020.

(Punch)


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