Ogbulafor, 2 others to know fate July 24




ABUJA – Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two others standing trial on a 17 count-charge will know their fate on July 24.

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The Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) on May 10, 2010 arraigned Ogbulafor, Emeka Ebilah and Jude Nwokoro, before an FCT High Court presided by Justice Ishaq Bello.

They were charged with offences bothering on abuse of office and defrauding the Federal Government of N107 million in 2005 by using their position in the National Economic Intelligence Committee.

The accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Besides, the ICPC had alleged that Ogbulafor collected “kick-backs’’ amounting to two million naira and N28 million from Ebilah, and one Chris Nwoke, respectively to facilitate the release of the funds.

During Ebilah’s cross examination in Sept. 25, 2013, he told the court that the ICPC compelled him to refund N4.39 million to the Federal Government.

Ebilah told the court that his statement to the ICPC was made under duress.

“I was humiliated and dehumanised with a gun placed on my head when the ICPC took my statement.

“I was humiliated, downgraded and put in a room without airconditioner and was also asked by one Basil Mohmodu and Prince Hassan, to write what they want me to write for then; my passport was collected,’’ Ebilah said.

Ebilah also told the court that he had never met Mohmodu, a staff of the ICPC before April 2006.

“My first statement to the ICPC was made in March, 13, 2006 and before it was taken I have never met with any of ICPC personnel.

“My lord, I do not have any confidential relationship with the first accused and I also do not know if Mr Mohmodu knew how the first accused saved my life.

“I also do not know if PW1 know my relationship with Henrico before my statement at the ICPC,’’ Ebilah said.

He said that he was not aware if Ogbulafor knew about the N28 million, adding that he never gave any money to the former PDP National Chairman.

He also denied knowing one Chris Nwoke.

The Prosecution Counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), closed his case on Nov. 5, 2013 and Ogbulafor entered a no case submission.

But the court held that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against Ogbulafor to warrant him to open his defence.[eap_ad_2]

Ogbulafor, who was led in his evidence-in-chief by his Counsel, Joe Gadzama (SAN), in May, 16, 2013, denied the charges.

He, however, admitted that he knew Ebilah as a minister in 1999, and that Ebilah approached him for assistance into the board of one of the federal parastatals.

Ogbulafor said based request he nominated Ebilah into the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC) where he later became the secretary of the committee.

The former PDP chairman had told the court that he wrote a letter of resignation from his position as minister of Special Duties to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

He added that the former president acknowledged the letter and thanked him for serving the nation dutifully.

He said that his resignation was premised on the ground that he wanted to run for the post of the PDP National Secretary.

Ogbulafor had denied knowing the companies mentioned in the alleged scam.

He told the court that he had never at any time conspired with Ebilah to collect money in respect of any contract from the Federal Government.

He said he did not know how NIEC was managed and that he had no capacity to receive report from the committee.

The court had on Nov. 11, 2013 adjourned till Dec. 17, 2013 for adoption of written addresses from parties involved in the case.

The adoption of written addresses, however, suffered setback following the appointment of the trial judge to serve in a tribunal.

The written addresses were finally adopted on June 25, 2014 by both prosecution and defence counsel and the case was reserved for judgment till July 24. (NAN)[eap_ad_3]

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