Ogbulafor, two others to know fate July 24

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In Nigeria
Jul 22nd, 2014
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A former Peoples democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, and two others standing trial on a 17-count charge, will know their fate on July 24.

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

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

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The ICPC also alleged that Ogbulafor collected “kick-backs” amounting to N2 million and N28 million from Ebilah and Chris Nwoke, to facilitate the release of the funds.

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

The accused said his statement to the ICPC was made under duress.

Ebilah said: “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 air-conditioner and was also asked by Basil Mohmodu and Prince Hassan to write what they wanted me to write for them. My passport was collected.”

The accused also told the court that he had never met Mohmodu, a worker of the ICPC, before April 2006.

 

 

 

 

“My first statement to the ICPC was made on March 13, 2006. Before it was taken, I had never met 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 the first prosecution witness (PW1) knows my relationship with Henrico before my statement at the ICPC,” Ebilah said.

The accused also said he was not aware whether or not Ogbulafor knew about the N28 million, adding that he never gave any money to the former PDP National Chairman.

He also denied knowing Nwoke.

Prosecution counsel Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), closed his case on November 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 opening his defence.

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

But he admitted that he knew Ebilah as a minister in 1999 and that the accused approached him for assistance into the board of one of the federal corporations.

Ogbulafor averred that based on a request, he nominated Ebilah into the National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC,) where he later became the secretary of the committee.

The former PDP chairman told the court that he wrote a letter of resignation from his position as the Minister of Special Duties under former 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 denied knowing the companies mentioned in the alleged scam.

He told the court that he never 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 November 11, 2013, adjourned till December 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.

 


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